At some point, your child is going to throw a temper tantrum during a Christmas holiday gathering. You want them to sit down and eat with everyone, but they are too busy playing. The more you try to pull them away from the toys, the more they begin to meltdown. Would you like some tips on how to diffuse a tantrum during Christmas holiday gatherings or prevent one from even happening? If you are still reading this, I am going to assume the answer is yes.
First, let’s look at what your child gets when they scream and throw themselves on the floor kicking and screaming. If you reward this behavior, either positively or negatively, they will continue to act this way the next time. By giving in to their demands while they are having a tantrum, you have positively reinforced it. He will continue to use it to his benefit because he knows it works. Yelling or threatening them during the behavior actually has the same effect because they find your attention just as rewarding.
Be proactive and think of situations that invite a temper tantrum so you can head them off before they happen. Do you find yes/no questions provoke a tantrum? Try giving them choices, instead. Ask them if they would like to bring the toys to the table (assuming the toy is small enough). When you want them to come to the table to eat, don’t expect them to abruptly stop what they are doing and listen. Provide advance notice, “We are eating in 10 minutes. Let’s start wrapping up what we are doing.”
It’s safe to say being tired can also lead to a tantrum. Make sure they are well rested to reduce your chances, and potentially leave the party early to keep them from getting overtired.
That leads us into consequences. When they misbehave in a particular situation, let them know they will not be allowed to join in the next time. They may not comprehend it in the heat of the moment, but when they are calm again, you can explain. Not to say they can never be involved in that activity again, but they need to know, immediately, their behavior will not be tolerated the next go round.
You can also move them to a different location. If they are having the tantrum in the living room, take them to their room. Stay in the room with them so they don’t feel you are abandoning them when they have big feelings. Let them know you are there for them when they want to discuss how they feel.
Pay attention to the times he doesn’t have a tantrum when he could have. Acknowledge the good behavior by saying you appreciate how well he behaved and let him know he should feel good about being able to do that. Now he will learn the attention comes when he is behaving well and not when he is misbehaving.
Work with your kids, before the actual party, to find ways they can start to self-regulate their emotions. Role play different situations you encounter to help them practice. Doing these exercises will give them a better sense of control over how they are feeling. It isn’t always going to be perfect, but it helps to have examples they can draw from.
Acknowledge their feelings during the temper tantrum. When they begin getting upset say, “You must feel really angry that I won’t get you this toy. I know that can make me mad when I don’t get what I want, too.” After they recognize you have acknowledged them, give them an alternate outcome. Write down the item and tell them this will go on their list of wants for special occasions such as their next birthday.
And finally, give them a way to redirect their feelings. Give them crayons and paper and ask them to draw how they are feeling right now. Hopefully they will not be too far into the tantrum to listen to you and use that opportunity to calm down.
I have also created these cute Christmas monster coloring and activity pages to help redirect their attention.
If you want these cute Christmas monster coloring and activity pages, fill out this form!