It’s one thing to see your child suffer from constant itching and scratching – and another to see scratching and temper tantrums combined. Double the trouble. Stress, anxiety, frustration and immune system responses can all be wrapped up in both itching and emotional meltdowns, so they often go hand in hand. An emotional or anxiety based temper tantrum can easily trigger itching and other allergies, sensitivities, and breakouts, so it’s important to try to treat both symptoms by understanding they may have a share cause. Most children exhibit temper tantrums because of stress, frustration, anxiety, fatigue, or dietary issues. If you are aware of your child’s food allergies, make sure they aren’t sneaking into his or her diet. If you’re still searching, make sure that the top food allergens (milk, eggs, nuts, seafood, soy, wheat), sugars, preservatives, and other food additives aren’t the cause of emotional sensitivities. As you begin to unravel the world of tantrums, journal the date, time, why the tantrum began and the underlying reason you think the tantrum was caused. This may help you see a pattern.
During a tantrum, scratching becomes more of a coping mechanism over the skin being itchy itself. The scratching turns into self soothing and/or habitual. On the other hand, emotions like anger can trigger itchiness. Having a ScratchMeNot on hand, can really help reduce the skin damage due to repeated scratching. With Flip Mitten Sleeves as a tool to cover the hands during a scratching moment, it can give your little one relief and yourself some sanity knowing their skin is safe. As you plan for any type of tantrum, be sure to plan for the scratching. I’ve found that it’s best to give them our expectations before a tantrum begins. Relay this to children toddler aged or older. What signifies that the tantrum is over?
Is it when the:
- crying, screaming, whining stops?
- Scratching stops or calms?
- Sitting still?
- Standing or laying down quietly?
- A hug
- Sitting together?
I have a friend who lets her children cry, scream or yell it out in the confides on their room until they have calmed down. They are not allowed to be around family or interrupt family time with the tantrum. Once they have calmed down, they can rejoin family. Another person must sit down until the crying and scratching has stopped. She checks on her little one every 2-3 minutes to see if she is ready to calm down. I personally, have tried a myriad of ideas as each of my children are different. Some want to be held until they calm down, others want space and time to calm down on their own. Some would prefer to follow me everywhere crying until they feel better. It’s not easy but testing out different methods can produce a health way to handle tantrums where your little one feels heard and seen, while the parents can regroup and support them during these developmental moments.
Whatever signifies the end of a tantrum, should be vocalized to your child so they too are aware of when the tantrum is truly over. Creating expectations lays out the boundaries children need to excel. Initially, it seems like anything can trigger a tantrum, yet by taking an active moment to watch, listen, learn, and act with patience, you may be surprised at the long term results!
If allergies are the issue, they can spark anxiety. Children are capable of being as uncomfortable, frustrated, and irritated as adults – and sometimes they just get worn down from all the stress caused by allergic reactions. In this case, seeking soothing, calming, and relaxing options for your child like tea, calming baths with essential oils, stories, non-inflammatory foods, and/or medications may be a good option.
Anxiety, Stress or Frustration:
When scratching and temper tantrums seem to show up at the same time, your child may have anxiety or stress induced sensitivities. In this case, treating the anxiety through calming foods, redirecting attention when stress levels increase, and creating calm activities and options for them may end up creating a positive impact on the allergies themselves. Asthma, eczema, and other issues can all be triggered by or worsened by stress- so it’s a good idea to factor that in when working out the best treatment plan for your child. Frustration or anger can trigger itchy meltdowns, for instance, when a child cannot have his/her way. Knowing that we cannot please our children all of the time, create a game plan for the anticipated meltdowns! Here’s some ideas to tackle tantrums:
1- Be Calm.
One of you needs to be calm and in control, your little one already called dibs on the tantrum 🙂
2- Redirect their attention elsewhere.
Redirect their attention to a different activity, topic or alternative answer or approach.
3- Create alternative ways to say “No” to their requests.
Sometimes straying away from saying “No” several times a day could deter a 30 minutes tantrum.
Phrases: “Here’s something we can do instead”, “Maybe another day, but today we can do this”, “That’s a great idea, what do you think about this”
4- Practice calm down routines before a tantrum begins
Breathing exercises, singing, remembering happy thoughts, yoga poses
5- Allow them to calm down on their own
6- Embrace them in a long hug to help them calm down.
7- Use a soothing, soft voice to talk during the tantrum.
8- Remind them to breathe and relax
9- Walk away for a few seconds. Sometimes you both need a break from each other.
Leave your child in a safe place & take a few moments to regroup. Once you’re calm, return to handle the situation.
10- Can’t fight them all! Choose which battles are worth fighting. Sometimes, it’s ok to give in 🙂
A temper tantrum could be an emotional sign of pure fatigue. Tantrums can actually provide a great opportunity to learn more about where your child’s limits are, their signs of fatigue and anxiety, and what cues they give before acting out. As babies grow into toddlers, they begin to miss naps or transition to 1-2 naps a day. An increase in tantrums around nap time could mean more day sleep is needed. Try your best not to shop or run errands with a sleepy child, tantrums are bound to occur. Take a look at this sleep chart to determine if your child is getting enough sleep.
Sleep aids such as melatonin may relax your little one to rest and move into a deeper sleep.
To the health of your family… How do you handle tantrums? Leave a comment below!