Taming Temper Tantrums

Being a new parent can often be a time of wonder and enjoyment. But that can easily slip away when you baby had a temper tantrum. So what do you do when the little one gets upset, and how can you avoid outbursts in the first place? Kate Kelly, Managing Editor of American Baby Magazine offers some tantrum tips.

First, use sign language with your child. There are few things in life more irritating than not being understood. To make it easier and cut down on the communication gap, try sign language. It can be formal or you can create your own signals for things your baby frequently wants or needs.

Often times, parents forget young kids do what their parts DO, now what they SAY. Make sure your behavior is work imitating. If you want your baby to eat only in the high chair instead of snacking all over the house, then you can't snack in front of the TV. And it's also extremely important to manage your own temper. If you curse at someone who has cut you off in the parking lot, your child will think it's okay to do the same.

It's also good practice to give your child simple choices when they are having a tantrum. Offer your child no more than two choices, and make sure you can live with either option. "Do you want to watch your video before we go to the store or after?" or "Do you want apple or banana with your breakfast."

And remember to ignore the bad and praise the good. Babies and toddlers will act out to see what parental reaction will be. Head off outbursts by ignoring bad behavior. The next time your child doesn't throw his cup when he's upset, reward him by commenting on it in a positive way. Babies are looking for attention, no matter what it takes to get it.

And finally, don't talk to much. Babies don't understand long explanations, especially when they're angry. It's more effective to keep your sentences short and your words clear.

For more information on tantrums and other baby topics, visit www.americanbaby.com.
By Jenn Eaker and Kate Kelly