How to Control Temper Tantrums in 4 Year Olds

how to control temper tantrums in 4 year olds

They’re called Terrible Twos for a reason: most temper tantrums happen at this age. But what if your kid is older but still exhibits this behavior? How to control temper tantrums in 4 year olds?

In this blog post, we’ll try to address how to control temper tantrums in 4 year olds and when you should start worrying about extreme tantrums in older kids.

Table of Contents

Why Is My 4-Year-Old Having Tantrums?

It is normal for a 4-year-old to have temper tantrums. In fact, the majority of temper tantrums occur in children between 18 months and 4 years of age.

Age-appropriate tantrums are most common among 3-year-olds and usually decline as they get older.

When it comes to dealing with extreme tantrums when they happen, it’s important to remain calm and not get angry or frustrated. Instead, try talking calmly to your child about their feelings and help them find ways to express themselves without resorting to screaming or hitting.

In order to address underlying issues that may be causing your child’s temper tantrum, start by asking yourself what might be triggering the behavior – this could include anything from hunger or fatigue, feeling overwhelmed by too many activities at once, fear of something new like starting school or daycare, or difficulty communicating due to language delays.

Once you’ve identified potential triggers for the behavior, you can work on strategies together with your child (and any other caregivers) on how best to manage these situations before they escalate into a full-blown meltdown.

There are certain red flags that indicate more serious problems than just typical toddler meltdowns.

  1. Frequent episodes lasting longer than 20 minutes.
  2. Aggressive behavior such as biting, hitting, or kicking.
  3. Destructive behavior such as throwing objects.
  4. Frequent noncompliance with requests.
  5. Inability or unwillingness to self-soothe even after being calmed down.
  6. Refusal of food despite being hungry.

If you notice any of these signs, then it’s important that you speak with your pediatrician right away so they can assess whether further intervention is needed.

14 Ways How to Control Temper Tantrums in 4 Year Olds

It’s no secret that toddlers and preschoolers can be a handful. From the constant testing of boundaries to their inability to express themselves in words, it’s easy for parents to feel overwhelmed by temper tantrums. But don’t worry – you are not alone!

Here are 14 tricks from real parents on how they manage their children’s outbursts.

1. Stay Calm

It is important for parents to remain calm during a tantrum so as not to escalate the situation. Taking deep breaths and counting down from 10 can help keep your emotions in check while also helping your child understand that there are consequences for their actions.

2. Talk It Through

Talking to your child helps them learn problem-solving skills and teaches them how to better express themselves when they become frustrated or angry.

Ask questions like “What do you need right now?” or “How can I help?” This will give them an outlet instead of resorting to screaming or crying uncontrollably.

3. Distract Them

If all else fails, try distracting your child with something new such as playing music, reading books together, or going outside for some fresh air. Doing something different may just be enough of a distraction for them to forget why they were upset in the first place.

4. Offer Choices

Giving choices gives kids control over what happens next, which often leads them away from having a meltdown. For example, if dinner time is approaching, offer two options instead of asking what they want to eat.

5. Set Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries helps avoid power struggles later on when things get heated between parent and child during a temper tantrum episode. Let your little one know exactly what behaviors are acceptable before it gets out of hand.

6. Take Timeouts

When all else fails, taking timeouts can be helpful both for parents and toddlers. Giving yourself space allows you both time away from each other so that cooler heads may prevail.

7. Model Appropriate Behavior

Kids learn best by watching others around them so make sure you’re modeling appropriate behavior even when tensions run high.

Showing patience, understanding, kindness, and respect toward others will go a long way in teaching these same values to your child.

how to control temper tantrums in 4 year olds


8. Be Consistent

Establish consistent rules and expectations about behavior then stick to them every single day regardless if anyone likes it or not. 

9. Acknowledge Feelings

Letting kids know that it’s ok to feel whatever emotion comes up from moment to moment without judgment encourages healthy emotional expression. Let them know that you understand where they are coming from even though you still expect certain standards to be met.

10. Give Praise Often

Positive reinforcement goes a long way especially when dealing with young ones who want nothing more than to please their parents or caregivers. Always remember to praise good behaviors whenever you see them.

11. Create Routines

Having regular routines takes a lot of guesswork out of parenting since everyone knows what needs to be done. Plus this builds structure into everyday life, making things easier for everyone involved.

12. Avoid Power Struggles

As hard as this might be, it is best to avoid getting into power struggles with your kids because chances are they just want to win. Instead, focus that energy elsewhere and find a common ground that will work for both parties.

13. Listen Carefully

Listening carefully shows respect and understanding. Most importantly, it shows that you care enough about what your child has to say.

14. Show Empathy

Last but certainly NOT least, show empathy toward your little ones during difficult times. More often than not, this simple act can diffuse tension faster. Empathy conveys unconditional love which is an essential ingredient every successful relationship needs.

Coping Strategies for Parents

It can be difficult to remain calm when your child is having a temper tantrum, but it’s important to try. Taking deep breaths, counting to ten, or leaving the room for a few minutes are all good ways of calming yourself down. Keeping your cool will help you respond in an appropriate way and avoid escalating the situation.

It’s important that parents take time out for themselves too. Whether it’s taking five minutes for some mindful breathing or going out for coffee with friends, self-care should always be prioritized as this will help you stay balanced and better equipped to handle challenging situations like temper tantrums.

Having someone else around who can provide support during difficult moments can make all the difference in how we cope with our children’s behavior. Reach out to family members or other trusted adults such as teachers or daycare providers who understand what you’re going through and have experience dealing with toddlers’ emotions.

Having a supportive network of people to turn to is invaluable when it comes to parenting young children, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

FAQs About How to Control Temper Tantrums in 4 Year Olds

How do I calm my 4-year-old down tantrums?

  • Give plenty of positive attention.
  • Try to give toddlers some control over little things.
  • Keep off-limits objects out of sight and out of reach.
  • Distract your child.
  • Help kids learn new skills.
  • Consider the request carefully when your child wants something.

How do I get my 4-year-old to stop screaming when angry?

  • Help kids put it into words.
  • Listen and respond.
  • Create clear ground rules and stick to them.
  • Take a break from the situation.
  • Find a way to (safely) get the anger out.
  • Learn to shift.
  • Make sure kids get enough sleep.
  • Help them label emotions.


Temper tantrums are a normal part of development for 4-year-olds. As parents, it can be difficult to handle these outbursts, but with patience and understanding, you can help your child learn how to control their emotions.

By using the strategies outlined in this article, you can learn how to control temper tantrums in 4 year olds.


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