Getting The Hang of Temper Tantrums

If there was one thing I wasn’t looking to about being a parent, and it is probably the only thing, is the temper tantrums that were bound to happen… And happen, they did. In fact, my daughter is very good at them. She has a strong pair of lungs, that’s for sure!

We’re definitely not perfect at handling tantrums and have yet to find that magical formula that stops them immediately, but I have found a few things that can work to help stifle that frustrated screaming. So, let’s take a look at what works for us, and hopefully, they’ll help you all as well.


The most obvious thing to do is to try and distract your child with something else. Typically, people have to me to use toys to distract my daughter and get her playing again. However, we’ve found that toys don’t really work that well – she’ll just throw them away as hard as she can. So, instead, we’ve had to find other ways to distract her from her tantrum.

The most successful methods we have found are putting on some music she loves, and dancing like buffoons. Either of these will stop the tantrum within about 30 seconds, as my daughter’s focus moves away from whatever annoyed her.

However, the effects of these two options are entirely different.

If we play music for her, she’ll smile and dance a bit before then going to play again. However, the music will have to stay on for at least 10 songs or so before she is happy for you to turn it off again. On the other hand, if we make funny movements or dance, then when we stop she just starts crying again. So, we are forced to keep dancing long enough for her to be satisfied with the show.

Therefore, we would recommend playing music over dancing, and definitely instead of relying on toys. It seems to really work for us, so maybe it could work for you too?


If the tantrum isn’t too strong, another way we’ve found that we can help to calm our daughter is to use empathy. Basically, look sad as well, and talk to her in a slightly high pitched voice, as if you were holding back the tears as well.

Whenever she sees us like this, she usually cries a bit louder for about a minute before just suddenly stopping.

However, I wouldn’t recommend using this one that often. I always feel really bad if I have to resort to this, as I feel like it is almost emotional blackmail. So, try to keep this tactic to a minimum (like we do) even if it does work.

The Copycat

The final tactic that I’ve been using is what I like to call “The Copycat”. In essence, you do exactly what your child is doing. Imitate the sounds they are making, in the exact rhythm and a similar pitch to them

Whenever I do this with my daughter, she always looks really confused, as if to say “what are you doing, Daddy?”

However, this confusion then works to your advantage. Whilst they are trying to work out why you are copying them sound for sound, you get to distract them long enough to forget what the tantrum was about.

Now, I’ve done this at home many times, but I’ve actually found it works better in public places. There was an occasion where I was stood in a very busy Primark doing just this. Needless to say, I got some very odd looks from the other people in the shop. However, it worked as per usual and within about 2 – 3 minutes, my daughter was silent again.

And That’s All Folks

Those are the 3 methods that we have come up with or stumbled upon so far. I am sure there are other ways to stop a tantrum, or even prevent one in the first place… But for now, these 3 tips work wonders and I would definitely recommend giving them a try.

What are your favourite ways to deal with temper tantrums? Let me know in the comments below!

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Hello there! I’m Gareth, the 16-Bit Dad; a retro gaming blogger, Twitch Streamer and Autism Parent. With a focus on great games, a wonderful Stream community and help for other Autism Parents, I review games, play them with the community and share my learnings about Autism!

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