The Inside Scoop on Helping Parents Deal with Temper Tantrums

Preschooler temper tantrums can cause distractions in the classroom and prevent you from doing your job as an early childhood educator. Get parents on board with these strategies to start dealing with behavior problems more successfully.

Talking to parents about preschooler tantrums can feel like a minefield. Creating strategies to combat behavior problems can help parents navigate preschooler tantrums.

Preschooler temper tantrums are something that parents and teachers have to handle regularly. Tantrums can be disruptive at home and in the classroom and draining for both parents and teachers. Teachers are usually adept at diffusing tantrums, but they can still affect the rest of the class. It’s another thing to try to pass along helpful preventive tips for dealing with preschooler tantrums to already stressed parents who feel like they are in a constant state of battle. Because of behavioral problems like tantrums, preschoolers are more than three times as likely to be expelled from early childhood education programs than during traditional elementary and high school classes. As a teacher, you can help parents put a plan in place for dealing with behavior problems with a few focused strategies. 

Set the Right Example 

Parents may be able to find the right words, but it’s their tone and body language that can really make the difference. As a teacher, you try to maintain control and a sense of calm through your words and actions every day. You can talk to parents about how they deal with their child’s behavior problems before the situation escalates where it affects your class or leads to expulsion. Most parents know that they need to stay calm for the sake of their children, but this does not mean they feel able to do so in the heat of the moment. Speak from your own experience so they can understand where you are coming from and that you are on their side. Talk about how dealing with behavior problems in a calm and confident manner helps children model the correct behavior.

Prompt Children to Think About Their Actions 

You should talk to your preschoolers, and encourage parents to talk to their kids, about reframing situations at the first sign of a tantrum. Preschooler temper tantrums are caused by immediate emotional reactions, so putting them alone in time out when they start to act out with instructions on what to think about gives them the time they need to calm down. After a short period of time, have them come back to explain how they are feeling and what it is they are really wanting. Frequently, the reason for the a preschooler tantrum is not based on their immediate situation, but could be due to hunger, lack of sleep, or simply seeking attention. Explain to parents how you teach preschool kids to think about their actions, what they did, what was the result, and what can they do differently next time. It does not hurt to remind children that if they act out,  they don’t get what they want and  they will likely not get it the next time either.

Consistency is Key

Maintaining a routine gives preschoolers a sense of security. A set schedule makes children less anxious and builds the confidence they need to focus on learning. When children know what to expect they can better direct their own behavior without instructions from the adults. Consistent bedtimes ensure well-rested children who are less likely to have a tantrum.

Appreciate the Parents 

Parents may have a hard time accepting these tips, and that’s entirely understandable.  They are trying to teach their children the best they know how. Always acknowledge where parents are coming from but remind them that persistent strategies to curb preschool tantrums will pay off. Tell them about your own success stories when dealing with behavior problems to help drive the point home that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Mix up a conversation about the child’s tantrums by telling the parents the many qualities you love in their child, too! Building a rapport with parents where you can feel both feel comfortable and honest about their child is key to preventing preschooler temper tantrums.

Early childhood education teachers can subscribe to courses on ways to deal with preschooler tantrums by contacting Naptime Academy at 844-435-7682.