My 5 year old daughter can throw a temper tantrum and then carry on for easily 45 minutes moaning about it. We've tried walking away, humming, distracting her, and nothing works. Any suggestions?
—Tired of the Noise
Dear Tired of the Noise,
I am hearing so many stories like this these days! Take comfort in the fact that you are in good company. Now here's what to do:
1. Get a 3 minute egg timer, the kind in which you can see the sand falling.
2. Have a chat with your daughter and explore what happens to her body when she feels a tantrum coming on. Pin point the physical sensations so that she can recognize them for herself and have options in the future.
3. Tell your daughter that when she feels a tantrum coming on, to run and get the timer instead. Have her find you.
4. Agree that when she brings the timer you will stop what you are doing, sit down and listen to her for the full 3 minutes.
5. During this time, keep your mouth closed. You are listening, period.
6. At the completion of the timer, give her a hug and both of you go back to your own business.
7. TAKE NOTE! DO NOT COMMENT, SUGGEST OR FIX!
The bottom line: Everyone wants to be heard. No one enjoys having or listening to a melt down. Try to find ways to help everyone get their needs met, yours too.