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Old 03-02-2004, 03:47 PM
teacherkasey's Avatar
teacherkasey teacherkasey is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 674
Collingswood, NJ
Assistant Principal
Unhappy Temper tantrums when he doesn't win

Help! I have a child in my class who I have had difficulties with since the beginning of the year but the last couple of weeks have been getting worse. Today we read The Foot Book and we played musical feet. Well, James did not win and he threw a fit. Screaming and crying, saying he was getting his jacket on and leaving, accusing me of cheating, and telling me he hates me. Now, we played the game 5 times and he didn't win any of those times but I told all the children they would each get a Starburst at the end of the game if they played the game fairly. He gets himself so worked up sometimes that he gags from crying so much and has vomited on my floor numerous times.

I talked to Dad and there are no changes at home that he can think of that would prompt James to start behaving this way. There have been no changes in our classroom either that would prompt this behavior. I don't want to, nor do I think I should have to, change the rules of my classroom for James and leave the other children out but what else can I do???? The other children who did not win started cheering for their friends, not throwing a tantrum.

Sorry... this was just a stressful day and I need advice on what to do for James before I find any more gray hairs on my head!!!

Old 03-02-2004, 04:26 PM
Upsadaisy Upsadaisy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 17,701
Is there any way he can be removed from the room when he throws a temper tantrum? Another classroom even? He can't be allowed to ruin the lessons or games for the other children.
Old 03-02-2004, 06:44 PM
teacherkasey's Avatar
teacherkasey teacherkasey is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 674
Collingswood, NJ
Assistant Principal
That is a possibility... maybe. I'll have to talk to my boss about that option.
Old 03-02-2004, 07:25 PM
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applesnwine applesnwine is offline
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 16
temper tantrum options

I don't know how things work at your school. But you might be able to just send him next door to one of your neighbor teachers. I am a kindergarten teacher. And several of my fellow kindergarten teachers accept my problem students when they need a time out.

I have a five year old who sobs and bawls loudly, at the top of his lungs in the hallway, when we walk back from recess or art class or whatever. The tiniest little thing will set him off. But my next door neighbor teachers back me up and let me send him to them. It's a huge help! Of course I reciprocate with them when they are having a problem with one of their students.

Just something to think about. Good luck! I know it's tough. Believe me! I am going through the same thing.
Old 03-03-2004, 07:38 PM
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lilkidteach lilkidteach is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 89
Not winning

I agree with the other poster that he should just be removed when he starts his tantrum. This then does not give him the attention that he is trying to get from the tantrum.

I have also found that I play alot of games in my classroom that really don't have a winner. This has helped many of my children to learn to enjoy playing a game just to play and not to win. With a game that has a winner I will keep playing the game until everyone wins and make no big deal when someone does win. Like in candy land, once some one gets to the top I might say "good you got to the top" then we keep playing until everyone has done this. I do this with lots of board games and bingo.

Hope this might help.
Old 03-03-2004, 08:56 PM
teacherkasey's Avatar
teacherkasey teacherkasey is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 674
Collingswood, NJ
Assistant Principal
That would have helped with this game since there were "winners" but James gets worked up even when we play a game with no clear "winner." If we play a game and James thinks he is not going to be the first one to cover his Bingo board first or if he doesn't get more cards in Go Fish (even though we do not count the cards in the end and focus on who "won") he still focuses on the fact that he has less cards and in his words that he's "not going to win." So is there anything I can do when James is the one making the games competitive?
Old 03-03-2004, 11:53 PM
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clarnet73 clarnet73 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,126
Preschool Teacher
may sound stupid, but can you find a way to let him "win?" Like even, "Congratulations, James, you go (x number) of cards! Way to go!" It might put the focus back on competition, but at least it's in a positive way... don't know if it would work, it's just a thought.
Old 03-04-2004, 12:21 PM
Posts: n/a
Depending on what your behavior policy you might want to use that to help control his temper tantrums. I have students in my kindergarten class that cry and throw fits when told to move their clip up the traffic light and in response I just tell them that if they want to cry they can move their clip and go out in the hall until they finish.
Old 03-05-2004, 12:37 PM
Posts: n/a
Smile Re: Temper tantrums when he doesn't win

as a preshool teacher, i found out that most tantrums are a cry for individual attention. is there some part of the day when you can give him the attention that he needs? if not, sometimes allowing the child to throw the tantrum while you continue with your planned activity will discourage future outbreaks. this is of course if the safety of the child is not in jeopardy.
Old 03-07-2004, 02:07 PM
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mandy mandy is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 3
San Diego
Hi there. I'm in special ed and do behavior therapy. I have a lot of little ones who can go "overboard" when they don't get the end result they want (like winning) I'm not sure if you've tried this or not, but maybe try and explain to this child ahead of time that you are about to play a game and that he needs to stay calm and that if he can't then he will be removed from the game. then ask him if he still wants to play. Also you could put the numbers 1-5 on a board put velcro benieth them. Then laminate a picture of him and put it under the number 1. Tell him he needs to stay on number one and if he starts getting too worked up, you will have to move his number to 2..3 and so on. It gives him a visual cue to help him regulate his emotions. Most kids just don't want their picture moved, that's enough motivation for them. Some need some external motivation...like "when you get to three you will have to leave the game." Always give him some warning time. ie. "do i need to move you to #2" or "you need to try and stay calm...would you like to take a break from the game or do I need to move you up to #3.." You know, stuff like that. Just an idea. And you can use it in multiple situations throughout the day. Hope this helps. Keep me posted when you find something that works...I'm always looking for more creative ideas myself!! Good luck and hang in there! mandy

tantrums, temper, win

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