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What to Do During a Tantrum

The most important thing for you to do is keep calm. This is because your child will copy your behavior, now and later.

When your child has a tantrum: boy pouting

  • Don't yell even if your child is screaming loudly.
  • Don't hit your child during a tantrum. You don't want to teach her it's okay to hit. Deaf children learn so much from their parents' behavior.
  • Take a few deep breaths and then give your child a time-out.
  • As soon as your child calms down a bit, you can talk about what is happening. Sometimes a hug can also help.
  • Decide the words you will use to tell your child to calm down, and use the same words every time she has a tantrum.

When your child starts getting upset, try these things to help keep both of you calm:

  • Stop and think about how your child is feeling.
  • Look at the situation through your child's eyes.
  • Tell your child the words for how you think she feels, like, "You are upset and frustrated because you can't go outside to play."

Make sure your child is safe:

  • Take her somewhere where she can't hurt herself or someone else.

Try to distract your child:

  • Some kids can be easily distracted. Try reading a favorite book together.

Give your child a time-out:

  • If your child is younger, find a place that she can use to calm down every time she has a tantrum. Help her sit down there and show her a timer that is set for a few minutes. You should not expect her to sit for more than a minute for every year; so if she is 3 years old, 3 minutes is the most she can sit.
  • The younger she is, the shorter the time-out should be. One or two minutes can be enough for a very young child.
  • If your child is older, send her to her room for a few minutes. This will give her a chance to calm down.
  • You don't have to set a time limit. Tell your child her time-out will be over as soon as she calms down. This will help put her in control.

Ignore your child:

  • Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to ignore her until she calms down.
  • She will stop when she realizes that throwing a tantrum won't get your attention.

Don't give in:

  • If your child throws a tantrum because you said "no" to something, don't give in or change your mind.
    • That would only teach her that having a tantrum works.
    • Then she would be more likely to have a tantrum next time she wants something.
  • It can be tempting to give in to your child, or let her off the hook because she's deaf. Don't do this!
    • Your child can't hear, but that doesn't mean she can't behave.
    • Many parents feel sad that their child is deaf and give her whatever she wants. This is not good for her; she needs those rules and limits, just like all kids do!

Next: What to Do After a Tantrum

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