Tantrums of a 4 Year old
This is regarding my 4 year old daughter who when returns from an amusement park or from mall or any other place where she has really enjoyed... she is agitated to be home, she will yell and be rude. I dont know why she does it, she is a well behaved kid but throws alot of tantrums the minute she is back home. What shall i do to prevent this?
I have tried giving her a treat the second we enter the house but that mostly entails a tv half hour or a fun item or a toy but i do run out of ideas and i don't want to spoil her.
If there is any other solution, i'd love to hear it because my mum thinks i am spoiling my kid. I should also mention that i'm a single mum, so the responsibility lies on me to handle her 24/7.
It can be really frustrating when you see a behavior that you don't like and are at a loss for how to change it. Unfortunately, trying to appease a 4 year old by giving her a treat actually reinforces the poor behavior.
We want to use treats to reinforce good behavior. If your daughter now has the idea that she will get a treat if she throws a tantrum when you get home, then... she will throw a tantrum when you get home.
My guess is that the treat may stop the tantrum for a time, but it's truly not addressing the root of the problem.
Having worked in a preschool for 6 years, and having raised 5 children past the age of 4, I can say with authority that 4 year olds are often just asking for mum to show them boundaries. A 4 year old who is left to pretty much do as she pleases will feel insecure, and children like security.
When your daughter throws a tantrum (whenever it may be) she is saying "I need help because I'm feeling insecure and out of control." So here are some ways you can make your daughter feel more secure, and at the same time reduce or even eliminate tantrums.
1. Be sure that your daughter is not overtired when you return home. If you're going to be at the mall, the amusement park, a party or anywhere else where you know your daughter will have a good time, you'll want to try to leave before she gets tired. Children who have had too much stimulation or who are tired tend to lose control of themselves much easier than children who are well rested.
2. Be sure your daughter eats well when you are out. Limit sugary treats and encourage her to eat carrot sticks, nuts, raisins, unsweetened coconut, and fresh fruits and vegetables when you are out. Have some high quality protein available for her to much on too and be sure she's eating about every 2 hours, even if it's just a snack. Pure water will be important for her to drink as well. This will all help to keep her blood sugar levels even, so she doesn't have a dip. If the blood sugar dips, it's much harder for children to control themselves.
3. If you have done #1 and #2 above, you will have a well fed child who is not overtired when you return home. If she starts to throw a tantrum (and I'm guessing she will), you will want to be firm but gentle with her. I've found that using these words in a firm tone helps to stop a child from throwing a fit quickly. I say, "I will not let you act that way. That's not okay."
This immediately lets the child know that they are not in control - you are in control, and it feels safe to them to know that you will not let them act this way.
Then I say something like this, "You need to walk to the sink and wash your hands with soap, and then... " (give whatever direction you want her to do). You can think about this in the car on the way home. What are you going to have her do when she gets home. Will she go to the lu? Will she watch a video while you make dinner? Will she help you in the kitchen to make dinner? I would encourage you to spend as much time with her as possible, and incorporate her into most of what you do. If you need a little "down time", you can maybe have her look at books in her room for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, or take a nap. At 4 years of age, children can have some quiet time in their bedroom looking at books, playing with a doll, or doing something quietly while you get some time to yourself.
So you've told her you won't let her behave that way, and you've given her direction to stand up and walk to the sink to wash her hands. If she refuses, and throws herself on the floor, then you can pick her up and take her to her room.
Let her know that she can come out of her room when she stops throwing a fit and decides to put a smile on her face and be pleasant. You will need to stand by the door and reinforce your direction to her, if she tries to come out.
Once she stops throwing her fit and decides to be pleasant then you'll want to give her a hug and let her know that you love her. This is reinforcing the good behavior, and she would likely enjoy a hug from you more than a candy or movie time. Children crave affection and attention from their mums.
So in a sense, if you follow this pattern, you are correcting the poor behavior and rewarding the good behavior, and that's the best way to train a child.
Please post back with your thoughts on this or if you have any further questions. I hope this gives you some good ideas. If you are consistent in your training, you should see a big change in a week's time or less. Being a single mum is challenging, but it can be done well, and if your daughter is old enough to recognize that Daddy is no longer in the home, she will need your love, affection and firm boundaries even more.
Thank you so much Kate!
I appreciate the time you have taken out to direct me what i can do.
I do point 1 and 2 and but three, i don't. Its very clear i need to work on that. I will post back soon to tell you how things are moving ahead with us.
Thank you once again.
Also Kate :)
How are things going? Do you feel like anything you are trying is starting to make a difference?