CLEVELAND — 3News’ Danielle Wiggins talked to Dr. Emily Mudd from Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital about how to effectively handle tantrums.
“We've all had a tough few months with the pandemic and when it comes to our kids, they may not have the verbiage to express how they're really feeling.” Danielle asked, ”As moms, how do we deal with that?”
Dr. Mudd says when dealing with tantrums, there are three things parents need to do.
The easiest way to remember the three steps is by using the acronym A.W.E., which stands for Acknowledge, Wait and Engage.
“The first thing is they need to do is acknowledge the emotion the child is having,” says Dr. Mudd.
“Let them know, ‘it looks like you're feeling sad we can't go to the park right now.’ Then the next time your child has a big emotion they're more likely to remember the verbiage that you gave them to manage it.”
Step two is probably the hardest: wait.
“Your job as a parent is to be the thermometer in the room, not the temperature,” says Dr. Mudd. “If your child is having a big emotion, you don't also want to be having a big emotion.”
She advises that after we acknowledge and we wait, then we engage with our child.
“We want to turn to the ‘yes,’” says Dr. Mudd.
“Give them options of things they can do. So, ‘you're sad that we can't go to the park right now. Would you like to play with your Legos or help me in the kitchen?’ Have your child choose the next one and shift to the yes to end the tantrum.”
Dr. Mudd says the A.W.E. approach works whether you're dealing with a toddler or a teenager.
She also points out that structure and boundaries are important, so once you layout your expectations, make sure you stick to them.