Are you navigating the tumultuous seas of your toddler’s tantrums, unsure when it’s normal and when it’s a cause for concern? From deciphering the mystifying outbursts of your 3-year-old to determining when to seek help, we’re here to guide you through. Join us on this journey to understand the emotional whirlwinds of tiny tots, as we dive into the world of “3-year-old Tantrums: When to Worry”.
3 year-old Tantrums: When to Worry
With temper tantrums in children and toddlers being a part of typical development, parents shouldn’t immediately be concerned. These crying fits, kicks, and screams are developmentally normal and serve as a communication tool for our little ones. As Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D., the director of psychology and neuropsychology at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital explains, these tantrums let children express their unhappiness or frustration over an event or response, especially when they don’t get something they want. The duration of these tantrums usually varies from a few minutes to about 15 minutes. After which, children often recover and carry on with their day.
What do I do when my child is having a temper tantrum?
When your child throws a temper tantrum, it’s essential to remain calm and actively ignore the behavior. This approach involves not engaging, speaking, or interacting with the child during the tantrum. Although this can be difficult, our attention is one of our most potent tools for managing our children’s behavior. We should use our attention to reinforce positive behaviors and take it away from negative behaviors like tantrums. Once the tantrum stops, parents should offer specific praise for stopping the behavior and redirect the situation or discuss the antecedent of the event if the child can understand it.
What do I do when dealing with a temper tantrum in public?
Public tantrums can be particularly challenging and embarrassing for parents. But just like in private, it’s important to remain calm. Try to get your child to a safe place and actively ignore them while they have their tantrum. Manage any glances or stares from others as best as you can, and remember, you are doing the right thing. Once the behavior has ended, muster all your energy and offer specific praise!
What can I do to prevent temper tantrums?
Temper tantrums are usually a response to changes in the environment. If you notice a consistent trigger that upsets your child, it’s important to address it. If tantrums frequently occur due to a change in routine or when playtime is ending, giving a five-minute transitional warning could help prepare them for the change and prevent a tantrum. Regularly providing specific and labeled praise to a child can also be very effective.
When should I worry about temper tantrums and get additional help?
If the tantrums become more severe, last longer, occur multiple times a day, or are common in a child older than 5, it may be time to consult a pediatrician or psychologist. Also, if your child harms themselves or others, destroys property, holds their breath, or complains of headaches, stomachaches, or anxiety, reach out to your pediatrician. Parenting is indeed a challenging task, and if you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, or unsure about handling tantrums, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
When should I worry about 3-year-old tantrums?
After the toddler years, kids should not be having daily tantrums. Research suggests that 3-6 year-olds who have more than 20 tantrums a month could have psychological problems. Also, children who have difficulty recovering from tantrums may be at an increased risk.
What does a normal 3-year-old tantrum look like?
Normal tantrums for a 3-year-old might involve screaming, stiffening limbs, an arched back, kicking, falling down, flailing about, or running away. In some cases, children may hold their breath, vomit, break things, or even hurt themselves or others during a tantrum.
At what age are tantrums not normal?
Tantrums typically start between 12 to 18 months old and worsen between ages 2 to 3. After age 4, tantrums rarely occur. Factors like tiredness, hunger, or sickness can exacerbate tantrums or make them more frequent.
How do you know if tantrums are normal?
If a child has 10-20 tantrums a month or five tantrums a day on more than one day, this could be cause for concern. Similarly, tantrums that last more than 25 minutes may signal an underlying issue.
What is normal behavior for a 3-year-old?
Normal behavior for a 3-year-old might include emotional developments, early friendships, speaking longer sentences, a stronger memory, and improved physical skills. Activities beneficial for development include reading, creative play, indoor and outdoor play, turn-taking games, and cooking.