How to stop a 3 year old's tantrums?

Nicole - posted on 03/31/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My daughter is almost four and just recently started in a preschool here in Okinawa. When she was younger she had a short phase of tantrums that lasted about a week. I ignored her tantrums (even though she'd follow me around the house and 're-throw' her tantrum lol) and then she gave up with them and the full blown tantrums have been gone.
Well, she just recently decided it was a good idea to start throwing tantrums again! I don't know if she saw other kids at school doing it, but where she got this from is beside the point. She will scream at the top of her lungs and throw herself around and it's just full blown toddler tantrum from a preschooler! I know she's young and doesn't understand her feelings but she needs to know that these tantrums are unacceptable! Her dad and I don't scream or anything at each other ever, so she doesn't see us acting that way. I don't want to punish her for being angry, but can a tantrum be punished? I've told her its OK to be upset but she cannot act like that, but she's obviously not a little adult so I don't think that get's very far. How can I best deal with this?
And we are a military family, so I know that puts her under some more stress with daddy coming and going, and then our move overseas, but she's always been OK with dad leaving for awhile and he's been home now since July, so I don't think she's acting out because of any of that, I think maybe it's just the age... but I'm still clueless! Thank you.

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Elizabeth - posted on 04/09/2011

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Tantrums are unacceptable behaviour in my home and we rarely see them from our 2 year old ..but never from our 5 yr old. Ignoring them is key ..just as you did last time...but add in lesson for her on what to do when she feels frustrated.

Have a chat with her. When you feel upset...angry...frustrated whatever she is feeling...say "I am very upset/I feel sad/I feel frustrated"

She is reacting this way most likely because she hasn't been told what she can do INSTEAD of it.

We have our 2 yr old telling us things like this and it's hard not to laugh when you look down at her little face into her big blue eyes and she comes out with "Daddy maked me sad because he said I can't ...."

Cutest thing ever.

Sinclairbrooks - posted on 04/08/2011

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It's the age. She has no way to know how to handle all of the new feelings & emotions. When my son (3, almost 4) has a temper tantrum, I just walk away. He will calm down eventually (I ignore him if he follows me). Once he is calmed down, we have a "feelings talk" and I try to help him learn how to cope with his feelings. If you feel this might be coming from examples at daycare/school, I would definitely bring it up with the provider/teacher.

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