5 ways to stop tantrums before they begin

The best tantrum stoppers that actually work

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  • No one wants to be stuck in the grocery store with their little one crying their eyes out. It's embarrassing and you feel like a bad mom (even though no one with kids is actually thinking that at all).

  • You feel like you are trying everything from bribing them to threatening timeout. The tantrums are frequent and you don't really know what to do.

  • Paula Spencer from parenting.com shares five ways to stop the tantrums:

  • 1. Make a game out of it

  • Remember that time you were trying to buckle your child into their car seat and they were just not having it? This always happens in crowded parking lots or when your friend has just walked you to your car. You are tired and frustrated and want to leave as soon as possible.

  • If you have multiple kids, try playing a game to see who can get buckled the fastest. This creates a distraction and makes all the kids actually want to buckle up. If you just have the one child, get them laughing, whether that's by tickling them with the buckle or their favorite toy. Laughing and games will take their mind off what is actually happening.

  • 2. Show them by example

  • The holidays are coming up, and that's the time when grandma and every aunt and uncle wants hugs from your kids. This can be hard for the kids because they just want to play or they haven't seen the family members for a long time.

  • The best way to prevent a tantrum is by showing them what to do. Hug the relatives first and then stand near the child when they are greeting the relatives. This shows your children that you aren't abandoning them and that you trust these people.

  • In other situations, reminding them that you are doing the same thing that you are asking them to do gives them ease because they know they don't have to do it alone.

  • 3. Sidestep the no

  • Your child may hate brushing their teeth or taking a bath, so whenever you say, "Are you ready to brush your teeth?" they let out a royal tantrum. It's best to sidestep the yes or no questions altogether so they don't think they have a choice.

  • Instead say, "It's time to brush your teeth. Do you want to do it by yourself or do you need help?" It's better to not let them choose if they will or not do the task, rather give them a choice of how they will accomplish the task. If you still give them a choice, they feel like they have power while still having them be obedient and accomplish the things they need to.

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  • 4. Try a nontraditional solution

  • Remember at dinner the other night when your child picked all the veggies off their pizza and only ate the cheese? You thought you were being clever by giving it to them on pizza. Unfortunately, most children won't eat veggies if they can see them.

  • Instead of making them stay at the table all night, try giving them a multivitamin (ask your pediatrician) or mixing the veggies into something they actually enjoy (for example, black bean brownies or cauliflower mashed potatoes). When it comes to mealtime, creative solutions don't have to be as hard as we make them. Take 15 minutes on Pinterest and look up different healthy recipes, make a shopping list and go to town.

  • 5. Give warnings

  • You are at the store and your child is screaming "I don't want to go home." Now instead of hurrying out of the store and not buying anything, remember this trick of how to leave a store with a child.

  • Elizabeth Pantley, author and mother of four, says to let your child know you understand his or her point of view. "I bet you wish you could stay in this toy store forever, but it's time to go now. Hug the toy doggy one more time. Now here are my keys to hold."

  • "Warn, distract, have your way," Spencer adds.

  • Your children are little people, and if you give them a little warning instead of ripping them away from what they are doing, it will help them be more respectful to you and avoid a tantrum.

  • Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs. Your children are learning about the world and their feelings. Following these steps will give you the chance to stop tantrums before they begin, and in turn, let you have a better relationship with your child.

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Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.

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