Achievable Quick Fixes for Tantrums from a 4-Year-Old
Kids,  Mom's Parenting Tool Box

Achievable Quick Fixes for Tantrums from a 4-Year-Old

Parenting toddlers can be a rollercoaster of emotions, and anyone who has a 4-year-old knows the struggle of dealing with their unpredictable tantrums. In this blog post, we delve deeper into the nuances of understanding and managing tantrums in young children. By sharing personal stories and practical solutions, we hope to provide a sense of solidarity to parents navigating the challenging terrain of toddlerhood. PSA: My Achievable Quick Fixes for Tantrums from a 4-year-old don’t always work.

Understanding the 4-Year-Old Mind

Wikipedia might call it a hissy fit, but any parent knows that a 4-year-old’s tantrum is a complex manifestation of their developing mind. We as parents have to recognize that, like learning to walk and talk, children are also in the process of becoming rational beings. Parents must remember this amidst the chaos of parenting. Our expectations are always higher than they are capable of meeting with their underdeveloped prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is a crucial part of the brain responsible for higher-order cognitive functions, personality expression, decision-making, social interactions, and moderating social behavior. It is located at the front part of the brain, just behind the forehead, and is the last region of the brain to mature.

4-Year-Old with Temper Tantrum: Quick Fixes

I have been or can be if you click on a link and make a purchase, compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value for writing this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Please read my full disclosure for more information.

Insights from Daily Struggles:

I will highlight specific instances that trigger tantrums in a 4-year-old, shedding light on the reasons behind these outbursts.

For instance, morning routines can become a battleground, with choices and plans easily derailing.


  • She barely ever eats any of her dinners. Can you say- HUNGRY!
  • She is not a morning person- just like her mother.

Waking up is ok until she has to make a choice or until something does not go according to “her” plan. For example- I still help her get dressed. She likes to pick out the clothes. The girl wants me to get them out for her but can’t function to tell me what she wants to wear or probably doesn’t even know.

  • Quick-Fix- Get out her clothes the night before.
  • Quick Fix- Eat before getting dressed. This only makes things easier some of the time.
  • Quick Fix– Lower my expectations and wake her earlier! So we have more time for a slow morning.

Example 2- If the desired bowl and spoon for her cereal are not available, the shit hits the fan!

  • Quick Fix- I always do my best to make sure they are washed each day. This does not help when her preferences change, like switching it up from a kid spoon to the biggest possible spoon she can find in the kitchen. She doesn’t care if she can’t even fit the whole thing in her mouth. Picking battles is an important skill that has to be honed when dealing with kids.
Biggest Spoon Possible for Breakfast.

Sleep is so important and waking up can be hard when she hasn’t been getting enough! I suggest practical quick fixes such as preparing clothes the night before and adjusting expectations to accommodate a slower morning pace.

Potty training, a milestone in a toddler’s life, is explored as another potential tantrum trigger.


  • It is easier for me to help.
  • Faster for me to help.
  • More hygienic for me to wipe her.
  • AKA: Mom is impatient.

She is now 4 years old! She has been potty trained for about a year give or take some time. It was a struggle to achieve since it was right around when I had a broken foot! But we got there. She can prepare the toilet (with her seat so she doesn’t fall in), wipe, flush, and wash her hands all on her own. Very often, especially when I am around, she calls for my help. I have given in so many times it’s routine now. She won’t need me to do this forever but sometimes it’s not convenient. I get frustrated with her but truly I am at fault for giving in. For more help with Potty Training check out The One Thing That Made Her “Get It!”

CONSISTENCY is the most important thing when teaching your children! This highlights the challenges faced by me as a mom, torn between impatience and the necessity for her child to learn independence.

  • Not-so-Quick Fix– Standing firm, being patient, and maintaining consistency in expectations. Be patient and consistent, a struggle I have! I am going to have to put my patient pants on. There will be waiting, fits from the bathroom, and possibly even accidents. I know she can do it and so does she!

Dinnertime is a common battlefield for parents and picky eaters.

4-Year-Old with Temper Tantrum: Quick Fixes. Dinner Time


  • She is picky.
  • She just got diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
  • Mom is distracted during the last snack of the day and she eats too much of it.

As previously stated mornings are hard most of the time because I know she is hungry. She is hungry because she does not eat her dinner. She never had trouble eating gluten before we found out she has Celiac disease but I do think it made her uncomfortable in ways we could not see or know. Now that we do know I am hoping for some improvement in the eating area but hah who am I kidding she is 4. Time is my friend. She will get better with time as she grows and remains on her Gluten-Free diet.

All kids this age are picky. The rule in my house is you have to try the food before you say, “It’s not my favorite” and refuse to eat any. “It’s not my favorite sounds so much nicer than ” EWW” or I don’t like this.” We don’t make them eat things but encourage them to try everything. I don’t make anything different if the kids don’t like what I serve. They eat or go hungry.

  • Quick Fix- As long as they try a taste they can be excused. Plates are saved until bedtime in case anyone changes their mind about eating.
  • Not-so-Quick Fix– Consistency! Stick to the same expectations each night and although the kid might not be happy- they will know what to expect.

My son even tries a taste of things he has had before and not liked. I think we may even have changed his mind a few times! I am hopeful for Lily but she would rather go to bed hungry than even try some things. The importance of consistency in setting expectations is underscored for long-term success.

As for the distracted mom- that’s only gonna get worse as my kids get more homework and extracurriculars.

  • Quick Fix Have some portioned-out snack choices ready to grab and allow no more than that first grab.

Sibling Rivalry

4-Year-Old with Temper Tantrum: Quick Fixes- Sibling Rivalry


  • Siblings have fought since the beginning of time!
  • Competition
  • Wanting what the other has.

Sibling rivalry is a timeless challenge I can give insights into the common triggers like competition and wanting what the other has.

  • Quick Fix- Do my best to distract with a change of subject. Sometimes I even stop and ask both of them how they think we can make everyone happy.
  • Quick Fix- Try to add some one-on-one time in the day for each party.
  • Quick Fix– Usually this can be about filling the power cup so choose another achievement or goal they can control.

Usually, the struggle occurs during one of those other peak times like in the morning when she is Hangry or in the afternoon when my attention is on homework and dinner cooking.

She loves to climb in the van on her brother’s side of the vehicle. This is a pain in the butt for him, especially if he is already on his way in first. That boy is a damn angel with the stuff he lets her get away with. I always praise him for how patient he can be with her.

Four essential tips for surviving the temper tantrum stage:

1. Pick your Battles

This is so much easier said than done. Recognize the importance of choosing battles wisely and letting go of the small stuff. Examples of small stuff include- wanting a specific color cup after a drink has already been poured, wanting to take the longer or a harder way to do something when we have plenty of time, choosing clothes to wear for the day that may not be mom’s top choice.

2. Consistency

Emphasize the significance of consistent parenting, even in the face of fatigue or illness. I truly mean it when I said this is the best advice I ever received about parenting and I got it before I was even a parent. One of my mentor teachers shared it with me as I was becoming a teacher.

Yes, it is hard to do when you are tired or sick. It is always important though. My neighbor always tells me each time I give in to a temper tantrum that means she will throw a fit 10 times longer next time just to get that same “mom gave in” result. This is why picking battles is so important because once the line is drawn going back is not the direction you want to travel.

3. Attention Cups Filled

Kids are more likely to be happy and willing to follow directions when we have filled their attention cups. Understand the role of attention in a child’s behavior and strive to fill their attention cups with quality time. You giving them your attention and time means they don’t have to get creative when seeking it out. What I mean to say is when your attention is on them, they don’t have to get creative as to how to get it. Check out more info on the Filling Your Kids Attention Cup Here!

4. Power Cups Filled

Acknowledge a child’s need for control and accomplishment by offering choices and empowering them in daily decisions. They have the power! This can be difficult when you are in a hurry or are already on the brink of losing your patience. The important part is to try and give a choice. Get the choice to have the same end result you are aiming toward. For example- getting dressed, you ask “Will you put on socks or pants first?” or eating dinner- “Will you eat your meat or your vegetables first?” It’s almost like they have a quota each day of power. Thinking of ways you can fill it will truly help prevent some tantrums.

Parenting a 4-year-old is undoubtedly challenging, but by sharing experiences and practical strategies, I want to create a sense of community among parents facing similar struggles. Remember, you are not alone in the journey of raising a rational being from the tiny tornado that is a 4-year-old.

Check out my other post about Dealing with Tantrums During the Terrible 2’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *