Tantrums are part of childhood, but in some children, tantrums become extreme. Not only do some children throw fits, as we say in Texas, but they tantrum for an hour or more. As you know, you will not get any learning done this way.
In my son’s genetic syndrome, Prader-Willi, tantrums are common. In fact, you can pretty much plan that the day will come, when your adorable angel throws a whopper. I won’t say that I expected them to happen, but I knew they might come.
Maybe you are like me and you just weren’t quite prepared for what sort of tantrums happened, or maybe you didn’t expect them at all. Whatever your path, you must face them in order for homeschooling to be successful.
Tantrums occur for several reasons.
Us older folks knew that when we threw a tantrum, our parents would spank us or take away privileges. Depending on your family’s values, you knew it would happen. Your own family may still stick with that rule, but I learned years ago with my sons that just would not work. So, I used creative methods.
In order to do that, I needed to look at why their tantrums occurred.
*Tantrums occur when children don’t understand concepts (especially in special needs children).
*Special need children throw tantrums when something is wrong physically.
*When emotions run high, children fight confusion and may tantrum.
*Family crisis create emotional turmoil in children and leads to tantrums.
*Genetic predisposition to tantrums may need medication or medication adjustments.
*Getting out of routine with obsessive compulsive children creates tantrums and shut-downs.
*Tantrums occur when children simply cannot sit still and are not engaged in doing learning, instead of listening (such as in ADHD).
You fill in your child’s reasons for tantruming. They are simply individual to children and families.
Choose a solution.
Choosing a solution to a child’s tantrums may be a quick and simple process, but it may also take longer. Sometimes, when my son’s needs are simple, a quick change in plans or a re-direction of his attention stops his tantrums.
Other times, the process requires a change in medication, taking a break, or making a change in my lesson plans. I have even had a whole year when my special needs son refused to cooperate with school. First, I stopped pushing him, then I adjusted his medication, finally, I helped him find fun things to learn in subtle ways. I WAS frustrated, but I am glad that I took the year off with him to help him find himself again. After the year, and some gentle nudging on my part, he took the leap for school again, and started in the middle of the summer. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.
Here are some ideas to help you.
*First, always check for health concerns, even glasses.
*Look at HOW you are teaching. Does your child need interactive lessons with cut and paste, games, or even videos? Put down the textbooks and meet them where they are.
*Stick to a routine. Make a checklist for your child to check off as you finish each task.
*Choose days and times that work for your family’s schedule to complete homeschool. Avoid scheduling appointments during those times, and stick to your own schedule. Kids love routine.
*If a tantrum occurs, stop school right then. Don’t push it, and try to get them to cooperate. Especially with special needs children, you may need to re-group your own teaching method, or content.
*When there is a family crisis going on, try to homeschool, but if things are too hectic and emotional, let it go. You can catch up later. Your child may not be able to process the emotions they feel.
*Try using behavior charts to reward progress. Let kids earn stickers for completing assignments or projects.