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It may be possible to avoid a tantrum from happening altogether by communicating and agreeing on expectations.
If your child is consistently having tantrums, for example, at a particular place, time, or in reaction to being told they can’t have something (like a treat at the shops), talk to your child about the tantrum before it occurs and discuss with them what behaviour you expect to see.
For example, before you go to the shops, explain to your child that when they go to the shops, most times they will not get a treat, but “sometimes” they might. Explain to them that they might feel upset when you say no, but even if you do say no, and they get upset, you will not change your mind. Explain to them that you expect them to accept your decision without screaming, throwing things, etc, but that it is OK for them to feel sad if you say no.
If your child is still having difficulty with screaming, throwing etc, help them to learn new strategies for dealing with their emotions (for example, see our “self-talk” strategy).
Be prepared for a tantrum the first few times you try this one (as children are likely to want to test the limit just to see if you are going to follow through on what you said) – persistence is the key!
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