Use time out during a meltdown. Avoid trying to reason with any child who is in the middle of a full-blown tantrum. Give him or her time to vent. Instead, give the child phrases to express the emotions that they are experiencing. Say phrases like, “You must be really tired after such a long day,” or, “You must feel frustrated that you can’t have what you want right now.” This not only will help the child verbalize this later, but shows empathy without having to give in. At this point, you may find that your best option is giving the child space until he or she calms down.
Tell your child it’s “time out” or “quiet time”. If your toddler is having a complete meltdown, and there’s no way he or she will be responsive to a rational conversation, sometimes quiet time is the best method. Tell him or her it’s time to be quiet until he or she can calm down and feel better.
Remain calm yourself to model good behavior for your child.
Don’t use quiet time as a threat or punishment, but rather as a way to give your child space so he or she can calm down.
Place him or her in a safe spot. The child’s bedroom or another safe place in the house where you feel comfortable leaving him or her alone for a little while is best. The spot should be free of distractions such as a computer, TV or handheld video game. Choose a quiet, peaceful place that the child associates with feeling calm.
Don’t lock the child in a room. This can be dangerous and will be interpreted as a punishment.
Explain to the child that you will talk to him or her when he or she calms down. This will help your child to understand that you are ignoring her because her behavior is unacceptable, not because you don’t care about her. When the child calms down, fulfill your part of the bargain by discussing the tantrum and the child’s concerns.
5. Have a talk when it’s time. When your child is no longer having a fit, have a conversation about what happened. Without berating your child or taking an accusatory tone, ask why he or she was upset. Provide a clear explanation of your side of the story.
It’s important not to treat your child as the enemy, even if you’re upset with him or her. Hug your child and speak lovingly even as you’re explaining that we can’t always get our way.
Be consistent. Kids need structure in order to feel safe and in control of their lives. If they’re never sure what will happen if they behave a certain way, they’ll start acting out. Use “time out” or “quiet time” each time your child throws a tantrum. He or she will soon learn that screaming and kicking aren’t as effective as talking things through.
Try the journaling time out trick. If you don’t feel comfortable putting your child in a different room or spot, you can still facilitate a time out of sorts by shifting your attention elsewhere. When your child throws a tantrum, tell him or her you’re going to write about it. Take out a journal and write ldown what happened and how you feel. Ask your child to tell you how he or she feels so you can write that down, too. Your child will want to be involved in what you’re doing, and will soon forget to scream and cry.