Little Angels: Tanya Byron's Top Parenting Tips - Tantrums, Rewards and Routines

Here are more of Dr. Tanya Byron's top tips for turning your child into a little angel

<< Part 1 - Distraction, Ignoring and Time Out


Try to prevent tantrums with praise. Imagine you've got a bucketful of praise in every room of the house with a big ladle. Every time your child does something wonderful, get that ladle and use it to shower praise. "That is lovely, thank you darling..." or "Oh look, you're playing so nicely."

Just tell them all the things they need to hear to get it into their head that they get attention for being lovely.

Tantrums happen to all parents. They do not mean you are a bad parent. You can try to prevent them with praise and sticker charts. If that fails you can try to distract the tantrums away. But once started, the best way to stop them is to ignore them.

Remember: distract, ignore but do not punish.


A good way of motivating children and avoiding tantrums is with stickers. At home, a sticker chart is a great way of encouraging good behaviour.

Each time your child is good, give them a sticker. Naughty behaviour gets a 'sad face'. Points mean prizes - enough stickers get them a treat. Mini sticker charts can also work when you're out.

Positive example

It's straightforward but it works - your children will copy you. Swear and they will swear, smack and they will smack. Lead by example.

Night-time routine

Sleep is essential for healthy child development so establish a regular bedtime routine. Routine means bath, pyjamas, a quiet story on the sofa; the bedroom should be a no drink zone, telly off, lights out.

A consistent bedtime routine will greatly benefit your children: they get the security of knowing what comes next - that bedtime is for being tucked in and sleeping.

If they continue to get out of bed, gently help them back with no fuss, chat or attention - however many times it takes - until the message is clear. They get a gold star and a treat in the morning if they sleep through.

Going out needn't be a nightmare

Try engaging your children in what's going on and motivate them to behave well. If they demand toys or start whingeing, distract them and, if necessary, ignore them. If you can overcome the red face, ignoring is a very powerful tool but you need nerves of steel! Stay calm, feel in control and you'll have a nice day.

Structure and stimulation

Children need stimulation and parents are the number one playmate - try to spend some playtime with your children every day. Too much TV can lead children to become passive recipients, hampering social, emotional and educational development.

Children want parental attention - by decreasing the amount of TV they watch children become more aware of the world around them and concentration should improve.

Try less TV in the daytime, more walks and trips to the playground. Play games, sing songs, read stories - but above all enjoy your children!

Little Angels: Tanya's Top Tips Part 1 - Distraction, Ignoring and Time Out

About the Author: Professor Tanya Byron is a consultant clinical psychologist specialising in child and adolescent mental health. She a TV presenter and is the author of a number of books including Little Angels: The Essential Guide to Transforming Your Family Life and Having More Time with Your Children and The House of Tiny Tearaways.

Her most recent book is The Skeleton Cupboard: The making of a clinical psychologist, which is a moving and extremely engaging account of Dr Byron's early days, training as a clinical psychologist.

About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!

Events in June 2021