Let’s Talk About Super Special Kids & Cake Podcast [Episode 003 / Segment: Special Q]
Tantrums are tough. Whether it’s our own child or maybe a niece or nephew: we’ve all been there – they tantrum and at the worst possible time! Tantrums can be especially difficult to deal with when it’s a special child that’s throwing one. This is because communication is usually already a barrier and so it’s even more difficult to decipher exactly what your little one wants. What do tantrums mean? Why do they do it? Usually it’s because they’re tired or they can’t communicate what they want; they may feel overwhelmed by the situation; or it might actually be because they don’t want to do something. Once your child has begun a tantrum, there isn’t usually much that you can do except ride it out! For parents with super special kids; who often feel embarrassed in public – try not to. Rather than focusing on bystanders and their stares at you, focus on your child. If you do feel however, that something needs to be said to a bystander, my best advice would be to just tell the truth “my child has special needs and it’s difficult for them to communicate. In fact, this is how they communicate that there’s something wrong”. I’ve found that when parents do explain, people do understand and help; or are more understanding. If a tantrum has begun, I’d also advise you to try and ignore your child and minimise the level of attention that you give. The worst thing that you could do is to give in to their demands because all this will teach them is that ‘I should tantrum more because I’ll get what I want!’.
How to Avoid Toddler Tantrums
Rather than trying to find ways to tackle a tantrum, my best advice would be to try and avoid it all together. One way of avoiding tantrums is by not letting them happen to begin with. For example, if you know your child will want all the sweets in the sweet aisle at the grocery store, avoid that aisle all together so that they don’t get upset that they aren’t allowed to have any. For some children, even mundane tasks such as walking through a shopping centre can be overwhelming and tough. In these types of situations, I’ve found that if a child is briefed beforehand as to what the plan for that day is, they feel less anxious and are prepared. For example, you could prepare a chart with images; explaining each part of the day and what you’ll do outside. In this way, you can prevent them from getting anxious and having a tantrum. More practical tips and useful advice on tantrums and how to deal with them can be heard over on my podcast: Episode 3: ‘Tantrums, Diets & Dinosaurs’.