Habitot Children's Museum

FALL-WINTER HOURS
October 1- March 31
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Tue
Wed
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Fri
Sat
Sun
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30

SPRING-SUMMER HOURS
April 1 - September 30
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Sun

9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
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Berkeley Agent, Gary Eason
http://garyeason.net/



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Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111
www.habitot.org


Dealing with Temper Tantrums
Tantrums are one of the most common concerns among families with 18-month to 4-year-old children. Little children have big feelings, but little experience in managing them or words to express them. The tug of war between what your child wants and understands and what you need them to do can cause them frustration, confusion and overload. Sometimes the only way a little person knows how to handle such big feelings is by throwing a tantrum or melting down! While tantrums are a normal part of child development, the good news is that many tantrums can be mitigated or avoided completely with a little foresight and a lot of empathy.

In some cultures, tantrums are rare among young children who are given tremendous latitude to play and do what they want to do. In our society, we have places to be, time constraints and certain expectations that are often unrealistic or at odds with what young children are capable of. The first thing you can do to avoid tantrums is to allow your child enough time to make a transition to what you want or need to do.

Next, ask yourself if what you are asking your child is reasonable and really important. If your request is important/necessary, patiently and respectfully explain why and hopefully get them to go along to please you (children treated respectfully often do want to make you happy).

Try getting into your child’s head and understanding what’s important to them in that moment. You may find that the ‘battle’ is in fact not one you need to have with your child. In the words of one parent, “I choose my battles, and when it comes to issues of safety, I'm insistent - you must hold my hand when we cross a busy street, and you absolutely may not hit your brother.”

The parent continues, “When it comes to things like clothes, I offer guidance, but am otherwise very hands off. In my mind, these things have to do with my children's bodies, and so long as they and those around them are safe, these decisions belong to my children. Trusting my daughter when she says she's not cold, and does not need a jacket is, in my mind, demonstrating respect for her and trust in her ability to listen to her body and understand what she needs.”

Here are some tips on dealing with your toddler’s tantrums:

  • If you can, avoid tantrums in the first place. Since most tantrums happen when children are hungry, tired, or out of their routine, make sure your child gets plenty of rest and healthy foods, and knows what to expect from her day.

  • Be aware that transitions are particularly hard for young children, who don’t have the same sense of time, of the future or what it means to come back to something later. Allow some time for him to adjust to the next thing, make a show of saying goodbye to anything she is attached to, and provide transitional objects – something from one place that can be carried to the next.

  • Learn what your child can and can’t handle. If your child melts down every afternoon, plan your chores for the morning. If mealtime is often “charged” for your toddler, adjust your mealtime routine to make it more manageable for you both.

  • Give your toddler some control over little things. This may fulfill the need for independence and ward off tantrums. Letting your child make small choices such as which type of juice to drink or which pajamas he wants to wear may give him all the autonomy he needs in his day.

  • Verbalize your child’s feelings. Young children often melt down when they can’t express their feelings. Verbalizing them for your child will help them feel understood while giving them language to use the next time they feel the same way.

  • Keep your cool. Although it can be frustrating when your child has a tantrum, especially in public, it will only make matters worse if you get stressed about it. Take a few deep breaths and deal with your child from a place of love and calm. Remember that most other parents have faced the same thing and sympathize.

  • Remember: Children tend to act their worst when they need us the most. Giving your child love and understanding when they are most out of control can be just the support they need in that moment while creating a great foundation of trust and connection.
 
Resources:

Temper Tantrums: Guidelines for Parents. Robert G. Harrington, PhD.
www.nasponline.org/resources/behavior/tantrums_ho.aspx

When It All Falls Apart: Toddlers, Tantrums and Turmoil. Lauren Lindsey Porter, MSW. www.naturalchild.org/guest/lauren_lindsey_porter2.html

Dealing with Child Temper Tantrums from Toddler to Pre-teen. Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC.www.empoweringparents.com/dealing-with-child-temper-tantrums.php

 
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