How to manage tantrums in a 5 year old

May 23, 2018
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    She is old enough to understand that her behaviour has consequences. The more you emphasise this, the more she’ll think twice before allowing herself to become angry with her pals.

    You probably expected your child to outgrow tantrums once she passed the toddler stage. However, you might find that even now if she asks for something and is denied it, there is an outpouring of tears, whining, and tantrums.

    Here are four typical scenarios specific to this age group and suggestions on how you can prevent this tornado of emotions.

    Related: 7 ways you can handle your child’s tantrums

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  • When she comes home from kindergarten, she flies into a rage when you ask her to do her homework straight away.
    2 / 5 When she comes home from kindergarten, she flies into a rage when you ask her to do her homework straight away.

    What to do: Since you know your child is tired at the end of the school day, give her time to relax. Agree that she can have, say, 30 minutes before tackling homework, so she can get changed out her school clothes, have a snack and play for a while.

    Why this works: Compared to a toddler, your child is more able to discuss, reason and compromise. By negotiating the amount of time she has before she starts her homework, you acknowledge that she has had a demanding school day and you also give her some control over her life.

    Related: Why you should never walk away when your kid throws a public tantrum

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  • When her friend is at your house for a play date, they start bickering. Before you know it, your child loses her temper once again.
    3 / 5 When her friend is at your house for a play date, they start bickering. Before you know it, your child loses her temper once again.

    What to do: Explain firmly that her unacceptable behaviour has made her friend unhappy, and has upset and embarrassed you. Point out that if she continues to act this way when she can’t get her own way, her friends will tell their parents that they don’t want to play with her. Soon, she will have no friends.

    Why this works: Your kid is old enough to understand that her behaviour has consequences; that every one of her actions causes a reaction. The more you emphasise that her behaviour affects others, the more she’ll think twice before allowing herself to become angry with her pals.

    Related: This is what happens when celebrity kids throw tantrums

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  • When your child’s sibling is allowed to choose which Youtube video to watch, she is furious that she wasn’t permitted to be the one to make that decision.
    4 / 5 When your child’s sibling is allowed to choose which Youtube video to watch, she is furious that she wasn’t permitted to be the one to make that decision.

    What to do: Don’t change the video even though the sibling may kindly make that offer in order to restore peace. Instead, stick to the original choice and explain that everybody in the family has a turn at choosing. Remind her that losing her temper like that will never get her what she wants.

    Why this works: She needs to understand that each person in her family has their own needs, interests and preferences, and that she should not only think about herself. Regularly encouraging her to think about others reduces the likelihood of future outbursts like that.

    Related: 91.3 DJ Shan Wee: Don’t judge me because my kid’s throwing a tantrum

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  • During music lessons, she becomes incandescent with rage when she can’t master a musical exercise given by her teacher.
    5 / 5 During music lessons, she becomes incandescent with rage when she can’t master a musical exercise given by her teacher.

    What to do: Calm her down, reassure her that she will be able to complete the task eventually if she takes a more structured approach, and then suggest that she practises for, say, 10 minutes, then stops for 30 minutes, then practises for another 10 minutes, and so on. Encourage her to follow that plan, until she is satisfied with her progress.

    Why this works: This combination of making her responsible for her own behaviour, and practical coping strategies, can be very effective with this age group.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    Related: Toddler discipline: 8 steps to control kid’s tantrums at parties

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