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How To Deal With Temper Tantrums In 3-Year-Olds-8 Efficient Ways? 

 August 10, 2021

By the time my children hit age three, I pretty much thought that the temper tantrums should be over with. It is only supposed to be the terrible twos. Right? I was so wrong because the terrible threes are indeed a thing. My children could lay down a tantrum at three just as good as they could at two, if not worse. Fortunately, three should be the last year that tantrums happen but it can feel like a very long one so you do have to learn how to deal with temper tantrums in 3-year-olds.

Tantrums In 3-Year-Olds

Why Do Temper Tantrums Happen In 3-Year-Olds?

Parents of toddlers often ask why their child is having a tantrum and how to deal with temper tantrums in 3-Year-Olds? They wonder whether or not they are doing something wrong. On more than one occasion, my mother-in-law told me that I must be doing something wrong because her children never threw a temper tantrum at age three. Her children must have been angels then because it is rare for any kid never to throw a tantrum.

Most temper tantrums happen in 3-year-olds because they cannot express themselves and do not know how to do certain things. Parents may also see temper tantrums when a child is feeling poorly, hungry, or tired. Some kids will start developing tantrums around their first birthday and then again from ages two to three. Some parents are concerned that their child is having tantrums, but it is a perfectly regular occurrence.

6 Common Types Of Temper Tantrums in 3-year-olds

There are several types of temper tantrums that a 3-year-olds may have, and parents must know what they are. These tantrums include:

Frustration tantrum

It is a tantrum that can occur throughout the day when the child is frustrated. They may have big ideas, but they are too little to do them. They cannot express themselves well through speech or writing yet, which can be highly frustrating. It will set off a frustration tantrum.

Fatigue tantrums

Fatigue tantrums happen when the child is overly tired. When they are tired, they are cranky, which can lead to crying and a lot of frustration.

Attention-seeking tantrum

Sometimes, when a child wants their way or is not paying adequate attention, they will throw a tantrum. For example, they may slam doors, cry, or whine.

Avoidance tantrum

Avoidance tantrums happen when a parent wants a child to do something but not to. For example, a child may not want to brush their teeth and throw a tantrum over them.

Disruptive tantrums

Disruptive tantrums are tantrums that are intended to get your attention. It may include throwing things, damaging their surroundings, hitting them, or clinging to you.

Rage tantrum

The rage tantrum or the embarrass your mom as much as you can tantrum will have the child screaming, losing complete control, and throwing themselves around. It usually happens in a public setting with tons of people because they did not get a treat or a toy.

How To Deal With Temper Tantrums In 3-Year-Olds-8 Efficient Ways?

Any parent will have to learn how to deal with temper tantrums in 3-year-olds. However, there are things that parents can do correctly, and there are things that will only serve to encourage bad behavior.

1. Ensure Safety

The first thing you will want to do is to make sure your child is safe. Ensure that they are not going to get physically hurt during the tantrum. If it looks like they may hurt themselves, for example, they are outside and may fall and get hurt, either pick them up or remove them from that area. If you are in a store, you will want to remove them immediately to keep them from hurting themselves or any products in the store.

2. Look away

The best way to deal with a tantrum is to look away and ignore the bad behavior. However, I noticed that she started doing it worse as soon as I looked at my child. Taking away an audience will quickly make the child stop.

3. Redirect

Parents should try to catch tantrums early enough so they can try to distract the child. This method works great for frustration tantrums. For example, suppose a parent notices the child getting aggravated with a toy or puzzle. In that case, they should show them something else.

4. Work On Feelings

3-year-olds are starting to learn about their emotions, and parents can teach them. When they calm down from their tantrum, a parent should explain to them that this is not the best way to behave and not the best way to get the attention they want. The parent needs to show them how to use their words to get what they want. It will not immediately cure the child of tantrums. Still, they will start to understand how to convey their emotions instead of going into a tantrum right off the bat.

5. Take A Time Out

I think that a time-out is one of the best recommendations I found as a way for parents to calm their children during a temper tantrum. Yes, they may scream and cry, but if they are put in a time-out in a designated spot or their rooms, they will learn to calm down. A time-out for a three-year-old should be somewhere around five minutes. Once they calm down, the parent should tell them why they were in a time out and how that is not appropriate behavior.

6. Parent Coping Skills

3-year-olds often learn by example, and they will want their parents for behavior cues. For example, suppose a parent throws a tantrum over something going wrong. In that case, the child is going to think that is excellent behavior. For example, if the parent comes home and finds that the dog has used the bathroom on the floor, they should not scream, yell, or act any way other than calm. It will help the child learn how to be calm in all situations.

7. End Violence And Yelling

One of the worst mistakes parents can make is spanking or yelling at their child during a tantrum. It does nothing but teach the child violent actions and will do nothing to stop tantrums. You should never use any physical or verbal punishment for a tantrum. Studies have shown that this won’t be an effective disciplinary strategy and can actually increase the risk of negative behavior. As a result, the tantrums may be worse.

8. Be Consistent

One thing I learned with dealing with my children’s tantrums is consistency. Parents cannot do something to curb the tantrum and then, later on, do something else. For example, if a three-year-old is having a tantrum and is sent for a time out one day and then not the next time they have a tantrum, they will get confused. A consistent pattern will help the child learn how not to lose their cool and throw a tantrum.

How To Deal With Temper Tantrums In 3-Year-Olds: To Sum It Up

Fortunately, dealing with Tantrums in 3-year-olds is typically the last year that parents have to deal with tantrums. By the time my kids reached age four, they could clearly express themselves. Parents should not have to deal with tantrums again until they reach their teenage years. Of course, those tantrums will have you wishing for the terrible twos and threes sometimes, but that is a story for another day.

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You may also be interested in reading the following articles:

Why Your Toddler Prefers Mom Over Dad?

When Does The Terrible Two Start And How Long Does It Last?

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  1. Thanks for sharing! This definitely helps as I am currently in the "terrible 2's" and am starting to see the start of some tantrums and crying. It helps to see the different types of tantrums and what can cause them.

  2. These are great tips for tantrums! I agree that redirection works wonders when you catch the tantrum early enough. And trying to stay calm helps so much. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great tips. I think that teaching the child how to express their feelings, as difficult as it may be at this age, will help the tantrums go away. Redirecting also works for young kids.

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