by Amy
(San Francisco)

I thought tantrums were reserved for toddlers, so I feel like we have taken a step back in time as I watch my 5 year old daughter throw herself on the floor kicking and screaming because she couldn't have the snack that she wanted. Does this behavior continue past kinder and into 1st grade? What is usually the source and what is the best solution?

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Oct 05, 2011
Big Kid Tantrums
by: Kelli

Gosh, wouldn't it be great if tantrums WERE reserved for toddlers? Unfortunately, tantrums can be pretty common in kindergarten and even first grade. The new stress of school is a big factor in bringing this behavior back. Your daughter may be feeling the pressure of trying to be a "big kid", learning new things every day, making friends, and behaving the right way throughout the school day. At home she feels safe, drops the good-girl role, and lets off steam from the pressures of the day in a full-blown meltdown.

She may be just as confused as you as to why she is getting upset so easily these days. Happily, now that she is a bit older, she will be more able to talk (during calm times) about things that are making her feel stressed or anxious. Ask about things that may be stressful to her. Does being in school all day make her tired? Does she miss being with you, or playing with her friends? Does she worry about having to be a big girl, or that she will do something wrong?

You might also start taking note of whether you see any pattern to the tantrums. Do they happen at a certain time of day? Is she generally trying to be more independent and make her own choices? Are transitions hard for her? This sort of information might help you head off at least some of the meltdowns as you meet those needs.

We feel for you! Hang in there, and good luck!

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