Dealing with a 4 Year Old Tantrums, Emotions and Angst

How to manage a 4 year old temper tantrums and their emotions

By AcaciaJ
Dealing with a 4 Year Old Tantrums, Emotions and Angst

As your baby grows, so do their minds and their emotions. Since toddlers are not yet able to properly express these emotions, sometimes they come through as agitation, frustration, anger or just feelings of being overwhelmed. This often leads to scary, anger filled outbursts also known as tantrums and they can happen anywhere any time.

How you handle tantrums are very important for your child’s, and your sanity. While it may seem very stressful and impossible to calm down your little one as in that moment there are several ways you can go about diffusing the situation. These are great ways and tips to help you properly deal with your toddler when they throw a tantrum. 

Managing a 4 year old temper tantrums and their emotions

When a toddler throws a tantrum it seems like a never-ending explosion of emotions. Lots of tears, anger and yelling takes place while it seemingly lasts for eternity which can lead to impatience and frustration. However, as a parent it’s very important you understand how to remain calm throughout these unexpected fits. Here are some tips on managing temper tantrums.

1. Remain Calm

We know, we know, way easier said than done, however, it’s very important you keep calm. Staying calm can have a positive effect on the way you’re child responds at that moment. Often, you’ll want to angrily leave the room or yell at them but it’s vital to instead, show a calm and understanding attitude. 

During a tantrum, emotions are running high, it’s important to remember that your child isn’t able to yet process these emotions which is scary for them. So, during their tear-filled rage calmy go near them and sit while ensuring them you are there until they’re done. Or, you can pick them up (granted they are flailing all over the place) and gently soothe them until it’s over. This will help them understand things aren’t as bad as it seems at that moment, that they aren’t alone and everything will be okay.

2. Pay Attention to Triggers

It’s also vital that you keep a lookout on what causes your child to tick. Doing so can help you to plan ahead and more importantly, prevent as many future tantrums as possible. If not taking long enough naps or naps at all is a trigger, ensure they get more sleep.

Maybe they get grouchy when hungry? Be sure to pack enough snacks to keep them throughout the day. Sometimes kids get upset when a certain activity is coming to a close; such as playing with other kids or when it’s time to turn off their favorite cartoon or show. This can lead to irritation and whining but gently giving them a heads up can help them to retrain their emotions and adjust in these moments.

What is a typical 4 year old Tantrum like?

A typical 4-year-old tantrum is usually characterized by a few things. Although every toddler is different tantrums are typically displayed in the same manner.

The usual signs include:

  • Tensing up
  • Crying
  • Yelling
  • Hitting or kicking
  • Pinching or biting
  • Flailing their body

Dealing with a 4 Year old Tantrums when told no

We all know telling a toddler “no” seems to be the ultimate trigger for outbursts. Sometimes you probably think it’s just easier to tell them yes as to avoid any loud shrieks or violent tantrums. Well, it may seem easier but not exactly in the long run. While it’s not the most exciting thing to tell them no, there are ways you can go about doing so that will help you avoid the tantrums.

It’s Okay to Say Yes

Sometimes, it’s okay to tell them yes about certain things. When it comes to dangerous situations, of course, hold tight to your “no’s,” despite how angry they are, stick to your guns. However, with smaller things like choosing their own outfits a few times a week or allowing them to do simple tasks themselves can make a huge difference in their temperament and behaviors. Such small acts will lead to fewer frustrations, more positivity and happier moments for them.

2. Ignore them Strategically

Strategically ignoring them during a tantrum can surprisingly yield good results. It may seem harsh but it may also be necessary as another technique to help your child relax and calm down. Instead of becoming angry or upset, ignore the unwanted behaviors and admire or praise the behavior you want them to display more of. By doing so your child will learn to slowly control their emotions and understand that good behavior will get them much further than the latter.

3. Try a Distraction

It’s safe to say kids are often easily distracted which can work to your advantage during a temper tantrum. If you have told your child no and you can see a tantrum brewing, simply suggest a game of peek-a-boo or start singing a song they love. You can even take out an activity they love to play or turn on a song they love. These are all great ways to get their attention elsewhere and help them calm down.

Dealing with a 4 Year old Tantrums before and after bedtime

1. Play Soft Music

This is proven to work for just about anyone of any age. Playing soft music can assist in relieving stress within your mind and body, thus creating the perfect atmosphere or relaxation. You can play soothing kiddie tunes, jazz or anything with soft quiet melodies. Gently rock them or rub their back as it plays. This is sure to help calm them down and fall off to sleep.

2. Try Natural Scents

Natural oils and scents have proven beneficial in helping relax and calm your mind. Although natural oils are typically applied to your skin with children it’s best to apply them in other ways like via diffusers and sprays. You can spray oils like lavender, jasmine and chamomile which all help to soothe while encouraging better sleep.

3. Read to Them

Nothing beats a great bedtime story before bed as it can help your little one to fall off to sleep. Spending a little time reading to them before bed can not only give them something to look forward to at bedtime, but it can actually put their mind at ease and send them into a happier mood. This can, in turn, can encourage them to relax and sleep soundly through the night.

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Dealing with a 4 Year old Tantrums in public

Your toddler throwing a tantrum in public can feel like the world is coming to an end, at least they feel that way. However, while stressful you must remember to deal with it in a calm manner that will help you both relax and center yourselves again. If your child is flailing about and screaming their lungs out, there are a few things you can do.

1. You Breathe, They Breathe

Taking deep breaths is effective for any stress-inducing situation. It’s proven to clear your mind while relaxing your body. So, the classic ten count deep breaths can quickly help to bring your mind to a calm space. Next, you can play a little game with your child to help them calm down as well. 

Cate Scolnik of suggests the belly button game during a tantrum. She talks about implementing this technique as her daughter was throwing a fit, she simply told her to think about her bellybutton. This may not seem effective, but it helped her to calm down and lead her thoughts away from what was making her upset. Scolnik says this is based on the powerful technique of centering, which is a method used to balance the mind and body during stress-filled moments.

2. Keep a Low Voice

It’s an almost instant reaction to yell when you get upset but doing so often adds fuel to the fire. Keeping your voice low instead will help soothe your child and comfort them during a tantrum. Although it’s not easy since you’re in public, raising your voice will make them more irritable thus creating an even worse situation.

3. Don’t Forget the Emergency Kit

When out and about sometimes tantrums are due to your child being hungry or simply needing a little entertainment. This is where your “emergency kit” comes in handy, which can help diffuse or, prevent tantrums from happening. Ensure you have packed enough snacks, juices and drinks to help cure their hunger throughout the day. Also keeping a few toys in handy won’t hurt, as this can keep them entertained while you take care of errands. Doing so will make all the difference in the world during a trip to the store, or wherever you need to go.

How to manage a 4 year old who throw tantrums all the time

1. Don’t Reward the Tantrum

No matter how tempted you might be, do not reward your child during a tantrum. In other words don’t give them candy or something they don’t actually deserve in a moment of fits. Parents do this in an attempt to quiet them however, this only leads to recurrent and spoiled behaviors. It’s much easier to make the effort to break their tantrum behaviors than breaking a vicious cycle of more frustration from no longer getting what they want all the time.

2. Try to Avoid Tantrum Triggers

Pay attention and keep in mind what may set them off. Often, these moments can be prevented if implemented in the right way. For example, as previously mentioned, solutions such as an emergency kit or ensuring they have enough food and rest throughout the day can greatly assist in preventing tantrums. 

Just keep an eye out and if possible, reduce potential triggers or stressors that can lead to aggravation or anger. 

3. Give Them Options

If you find you’re constantly dealing with tantrums as a result of your child not agreeing with being told “no”, giving them other options could help alleviate the frustration. If for example, they constantly ask for candy or sweets as an alternative you could offer them something healthy and delicious like fruit instead. This will teach them “no” is for their own good while also promoting good decision making and cooperative skills early on.

Emotions - How are toddlers really feeling when they throw tantrums?

As toddlers grow, their brains take on major changes at a very rapid pace. According to toddlers develop 700 new neural connections every second. This means thoughts, emotions and perceptions are in overdrive and, are all very new to them. As children, they have no idea what is taking place which is very, very scary for them.

Frustration and sadness can come along with these overwhelming changes as they are constantly discovering and wanting more. Whether that be different kinds of foods, toys, entertainment etc. they are just discovering the world around them. So, patience at this time in their little lives is paramount as they need all the compassion, love and understanding they can possibly get.


More than anything patience and love is needed to smoothly get through this time in their childhood. While it can be overwhelming and stressful, you have to remember it’s not in their control. It’s also important to remember it’s a normal point in their development.

So, utilize the techniques discussed and you will make it through. Moreover, enjoy each moment whether good or bad because they will never be this age again.

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