How to Handle a Child Temper Tantrum

How to Handle a Child Temper Tantrum

Speaking of time-out. . . Seriously, friends.  A time-out?  I hate to even write about time-outs for this age group. But they are still needed with severe behaviors,(Child Temper Tantrum) mainly for the kinder and first graders. However, these time-outs do not look the same as a time-out for toddlers. Sure, the child needs to be separated from the source of melee. But at this age, just tell him to go sit by himself, away from anything fun. Give him time to calm down, and when he decides he can act appropriately, ABC the behavior.

Child Temper Tantrum

Kinder kiddies are still a bit shaky on some of the finer points of appropriate versus inappropriate behavior, so they need more clear cut guidance on the basics. But other than that, choose a consequence and punish.

Make sure you assess needs. Don’t expect a time-out alone to fix the behavior. Think about the Five Basics discussed . It’s possible the child needs more modeling and guidance on how to act appropriately in that particular situation in addition to a timeout to diffuse the anger and aggravation.

As I said, sticking a child in a timeout and expecting that alone to fix the problem is like cooking only one side of a pancake and expecting it to taste good.


As a quick review, here are some basic needs that kids have, which may explain their reasons for acting out:

  • They want attention.
  • They want to be left alone.
  • They are unable to communicate what they want.
  • They want a particular object, action, person, or activity.
  • They don’t want a particular object, action, person, or activity.
  • They are tired, hungry, or over-stimulated.
  • They want sensory stimulation (a particular action feels good).
  • Big change in life: new home, new baby, family death, divorce, parent out of town, etc.
  • They feel insecure or out of control (emotional needs).
  • They are uncomfortable, sick, or hurting.
  • They have difficulty with transitions from one activity to the next.

Real Needs vs. Spoiled Behavior:  Do not get NEEDS confused with Spoiled Behavior. There is a difference. Needs are legitimate.  A child could legitimately want to see her father more because he travels. That is a need for parental attention.

Or she could legitimately not want to spend time with an unkind family member, or not want to get teeth pulled. Spoiled behavior is throwing a fit because she wants a toy or game, or does not want to do her laundry.

When considering real needs, keep in mind that kids still get overloaded, even in grade school. Go easy on the stimulus, and make sure those needs are met. When trying to decrease unwanted tantrums or aggression, you meet needs, figure out the root of the problem, and do NOT reinforce the behavior.


Well, we’ve done it again. We’ve tackled the ins and outs of problem behavior, and we’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll. This has been a lot to take in. It differs quite a bit from toddler discipline, as it is less physical and more mental. You have to be up on those psychological sparring skills!

The simple act of trying to find a solution to your behavioral concerns is a terrific indicator of your parental awesomeness (I think I just made that word up). I know you can do this, and remember, I’m right there with you. Hugs!


Review: What did we learn?

How to decrease bossy behavior.

How to communicate with egocentric natures and encourage appropriate behavior.

How to deal with stubborn personalities.

How to curb whiny behavior.

How to deal with aggressive behavior:

  • ABC it.
  • Do not reinforce the behavior.
  • Look at motivating factors.
  • Allow time to calm down.
  • Follow through; make the child do what was originally asked.

What Time-Outs look like for school-aged kids.

A quick review of needs kids have and reasons for acting out.

How to differentiate real needs versus spoiled behavior.