How to Manage a Temper Tantrum in Preschool

Let me ask you this question. Have you ever had a child in your classroom get upset when they didn’t get their own way? 

If your answer is “yes” (and I’m sure it is), then this episode is for you!

Why is that?

Simply because in it, I’ll be discussing why kids may throw fits when they don’t get what they want, how to respond appropriately, and why “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” is never the right answer.

And to make this even more interesting, I’ve invited a guest! His name is Ron Shuali, and he is simply brilliant

Ron is a speaker and the bestselling author of Breaking the Bullying Circle. He has expertise in the preschool through middle school arena. And that is why he’s the perfect person to discuss this week’s subject with.

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

“You Get What You Get and You Don’t Throw a Fit” Is NEVER the Answer!

[Image quote: “If you're going to create a win-win environment in your classroom, eliminating sentences like ‘You get what you get, and you don't get upset,’ or ‘You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit’ out of your vocabulary makes a [real] difference.” - Ron Shuali]

As Ron says in today’s episode, how you react to a child throwing a temper tantrum in the classroom depends on what you want to achieve.

If a teacher is going for a win-lose environment where they like that they’re right, and they get that one to two second dopamine release into their body, while the child gets no benefit, then “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” works amazingly.

However, a good teacher doesn’t do that. A good teacher works towards a win-win environment where they and their students get to thrive and be happy. And to achieve that, eliminating expressions like “You get what you get and you don’t get upset” from your vocabulary is the first step.

Doing so will help you connect with the child instead of punishing them for the emotions they’re feeling.

How to Get Your Students to Deal With Disappointment Without Throwing a Temper Tantrum

We’ve been taught to believe that the disappointment comes from the outside; “Oh I didn’t get this thing and now I’m disappointed,” “I didn’t get the job I wanted and I want to cry,” or, if you’re a child, “I wanted the best toy and I didn’t get it and now I’m going to throw a fit.”

However, that’s not how things happen. The truth is, more often than not, disappointment is internal. Disappointment happens when we create an expectation in our mind, and that expectation doesn’t become reality.

Understanding this will help you deal with your students’ disappointment much better. 

How to Start

[Image quote: “The first thing I will say to a kid that whines or cries or has a fit [in class] is ‘It's okay for you to be the way that you're being.’” - Ron Shuali]

When I asked Ron what he would do if a student was throwing a temper tantrum, this was his answer:

“I would go to the child that’s crying or whining and tell them ‘It’s okay for you to feel how you’re feeling.’ Because sometimes, we see kids that are upset, or crying, or being any way other than jovial and happy, and our brain tells us we need to fix this situation, but we don’t. Instead, we should just let the kid know that we’re listening to them, and that their feelings are valid. And most importantly, we should let them know that when they’re done, we’re going to explain why we did what we did.”

Ron also says that to avoid using the expression “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit,” you have to be present. Be aware of the things you say that don’t benefit your students and don’t make a difference. Once you start doing that, you’ll find yourself making more positive changes in the classroom.

Ron and I discuss all of this in more depth in the episode above, so make sure to give it a watch!

Learn more about Teach Smarter, a book by Vanessa Levin