If you have a dramatic preschooler in your life or want to remember what that time was like, then you might enjoy this funny family story for how to stop preschool tantrums!

A story of a dramatic preschool child and mom's new tool to tame the tantrums. How do you stop the preschool tantrums? This funny parenting story might make you feel better and give you hope as a parent who is struggling. #parenting #preschool #kids #tips

How to Stop Preschool Tantrums

I wish I had all of the answers for how to stop preschool tantrums. Especially since I have a very dramatic little girl!

When I started this blog, it was to tell stories about everyday living in my home (hence Living Locurto), but it has since become more of a lifestyle party and food blog. I enjoyed having a diary of everyday events though, so instead of starting a new parenting blog, I decided that on some Fridays I would post family stories here. I hope you don’t mind me shifting gears a little today.

This is a story about my new best friend…

How to Stop Preschool Tantrums | Funny Parenting Story and Tips

Please don’t judge me.

I have a very large cat for which spray bottles are great to use when they try to eat your pet fish! But, I also have a VERY dramatic, usually screaming for no reason three year old. Just ask my business partner, who every time I get on the phone with her, my three year old is crying at the top of her lungs for some ridiculous reason. LOL!

For instance, we’re just having a nice afternoon eating baby oranges (as she calls them). I decided to get my camera out to record my little girl doing something average on an average day.

How to Stop Preschool Tantrums | Funny Parenting Story and Tips

When out of nowhere comes this face… uh oh…

How to Stop Preschool Tantrums | Funny Parenting Story and Tips

And WHAM! There is the wailing scream we’re all used to around this house. (I think taking photos of the scream just make it worse, but it was so funny, I couldn’t help myself!)

How to Stop Preschool Tantrums. Funny Parenting Story and Tips for parents.

I try to reason with her by asking what’s wrong. Have you ever tried that with a dramatic three year old? It’s doesn’t quite do the trick.

So out comes my new best friend, Mr. Spray Bottle. (insert evil laugh here) I just sit him on the counter and tell her I have “my friend” here and would she like to talk now? No spraying is actually needed… that’s the funny part!

Funny Family Story - 3 Year Old Drama LivingLocurto.com

Since little miss sassy is scared I’ll actually spray her, she calms down to tell me that she’s mad because she’s almost done with her baby oranges. She wants more please.

Wow, it’s like magic!

After getting her more oranges and a toy to take her mind off of the drama. All is back to normal.

How to Stop Preschool Tantrums | Funny Parenting Story and Tips

Well, until her brother gets a hold of my new friend… (SIGH!)

Funny Family Story - 3 Year Old Drama LivingLocurto.com

The lesson of the day is to have PATIENCE and STAY CALM.

There is usually some reason the preschool tantrum started in the first place. The way we go about finding that out is the hard part.

Don’t give into a preschooler’s demands until they calm down like my daughter did for me in this moment.

I hope you find your secret weapon like my cat’s spray bottle. I really do!

Need More Parenting Advice?

Do you have a dramatic preschooler and a “loves to start trouble” son too? Please tell me I’m not the only one! ha!


This three year old is now in middle school and turned out just fine! She is still full of sass and often still screams at her brother (don’t all middle schooler do that?), but she is also a strong independent go-getter! Maybe all of her baby tantrums were getting her ready to become who she is today?

She started making fluffy slime and that has helped soothe her now when she gets frustrated. I hope this gives you hope if you are struggling with a little girl who was like mine.

Originally published March 12, 2010

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  1. I actually laugh out loud with this blog post… I sure will trry this with my 2 year old boy…. the only thing ..he LOVES water… Ican totally imagine him saying more, more!!!

  2. Wow. And I thought I was alone. My beautiful 3 year old little girl is quite the screamer. I think the dogs in the surrounding area probably go nuts when they hear her VERY loud, VERY high-pitched screams. She also really enjoys picking on her big brother who is 5. I tried the spray bottle the other day. Boy was she not happy with me. If looks could kill I’d be pushing up daisies. She very firmly told me that I got her shirt all wet. But, it stopped the screaming. So, I would say…………..mission accomplished. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hilarious! I have a daughter at home, so we know all about DRAMA. This morning there were tears because her tooth was loose and she just couldn’t go to school in that condition…

    When we had a cat, we were advised to train it with a squirt bottle. Cats hate water, so if they get into something they shouldn’t, just squirt them once and they’ll never do it again. It worked! Never thought to use it on the kids, though. Too funny, Amy.

    Hope you’re having a great spring break! Ours isn’t until the end of the month.
    .-= Julia @ Hooked on Houses´s last blog ..This Old House Needs Work: Buy It or Leave It? =-.

  4. I think you were in my house and just said that story was yours! LOL Mine is 2, but must be practicing to be 3. We had screams in the tub last night. Do you want to get out? NO. Do you want to stay in? NO. Can you say anything besides no? NO. Maybe a squirt bottle would work in all situations?

  5. I’m glad you’re getting back to more personal stories … I miss keeping up with y’all. I love this story as well. Hilarious but you gotta do what you gotta do. 🙂
    .-= MissCaron´s last blog ..Hey Mickey! =-.

  6. PRICELESS! Great story and I love the pictures to go along with it. Boy do I know about the tantrums but it’s coming from my two year old. I think I may have to find a spray bottle around here and see if that does the trick for me. Knowing him, it probably won’t because he is a little tough guy. I’ll keep you posted.

    In the meantime, keep the family stories coming. I’m sure many of us reading along will definitely relate and have some great laughs as well. LOL

  7. You are so not alone! My daughter is almost 4 and VERY much a little drama queen, and my son who is 6 takes every chance he can get at antagonizing her. Fun times. 😉
    .-= G.´s last blog ..Me and The City. =-.

  8. You are not the only one!! My niece is 2 and a half the other other day she thew herself on the floor in a fit. When we asked what was wrong she said, “I want to make grilled cheese with Mommy!” Her Mommy by the way was just walking in to the kitchen to do this & had asked if she wanted to help.

    As annoying as it is to see the tantrum start, it is almost always funny. Imagine what she’ll be like as a teenager…

  9. I had to laugh at this one . . . My kids and I play “naughty kitty kids” as they call it. They are 2 and 4 and after a crazy day of nonstop screaming we discovered the stress relief of spraying them and jokingly calling them naughty kitties. This usually continues for at least 45 minutes before I can’t squeeze the trigger anymore. They’re soaked and shrieking with laughter. They beg to play ALL the time.

  10. That is very funny. My 3yo daughter does that sometimes when it is time to get in the bath. And the funny thing is, she has such a fun time that she won’t get out!

    3yo’s are very very funny and entertaining.

    Thanks for sharing.


  11. My two kids, son age 14 and daughter age 9, sound just like your two! She is a drama queen and he loves to drive her nuts. Glad we’re not the only ones! Love your story and your blog.

  12. WOW! What a great idea! I have 3 year old (dramatic as ever) twins and I also run a home daycare with 5 other toddlers whom I like to refer to as “The Tod Squad”. I am SO excited to use this trick to see how it works!

    P.S. I also use this trick on my cat to keep him off of the counters. Works like a CHARM! 😉
    .-= amanda heath´s last blog ..Olivia’s Keepsake Quilt =-.

  13. How clever (and hillarious)! Have you ever had to spray her? I have a toddler/preschooler who acts similar to this. Now I am wondering if I need to go grab my spray bottle and try this method. 🙂
    .-= April Emery´s last blog ..God & Gardening =-.

  14. That’s too funny! I currently live with a 6yo DQ (as the hubs calls them) and a 5yo DQ. Wait till you have to get dressed for school! Wonder if it’s too late for me to get a “little friend?”
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Thrift Store Love =-.

  15. Oh thank goodness! Mine isn’t the only one. Whew.

    My Princess Piss-and-Moan (‘PAM’) is 2 1/2 and the resemblance to your daughter is stunning. Fair skin and blond ragamuffin hair, dark, dark lashes and brows and the pouty lip. Oh my. I don’t feel so alone anymore 🙂

  16. You’re so funny! My 2 1/2 year old daughter acts the same way over absolutely nothing.

    It seems like if I hand her sippy cup to her in the wrong way, or put the jelly for her PB&J on the wrong slice of bread, she falls to the floor and starts wailing. I thought it was just me and my child.

    But…I too have a spray bottle…. and I think I’ll give this idea whirl. 🙂
    .-= Amanda @ Mommy’s Idea Book´s last blog ..Finding Balance for My Busy Life =-.

  17. @Kari,

    LOL! That is hilarious. Yes… sounds like you need to get a “friend” ready for when she’s three. ha! Too funny:-)

  18. @kyla,

    So you have the opposite and there is still drama. Good luck with your screamer and yes… try some Calgon too. ha!

  19. @Christina B,

    Ha! Good to hear there are more of you out there:-) I think my little one could take her older brother though, so he’d better watch out. hee.

  20. @jessica,

    I’ve tried everything… time outs, taking things away, giving her rewards… but the threat of the spray bottle is the magical thing right now. ha! Good luck with your dramatic 2 year old:-)

  21. @Marsha,

    You don’t know how hard I was laughing while she was throwing that fit. ha! It’s unbelievable how fast she can just turn it off too. thanks for stopping by!

  22. @thewillowsnest,

    Good luck with the spray bottle:-) Hopefully you will just have to talk about it like me. hee!

  23. haha! She is cute when she’s mad! (is that a good or bad thing?)

    It’s funny how they sometimes have a hard time putting their feelings into words, even when they’re 10 years old (almost 11)!

  24. Oh my goodness this is hysterical! I know exactly what you are talking about.

    I think I may have to dig out a spray bottle at my house because my 2 1/2 year old does things like that ALL THE TIME. I have been at my wits end sometimes because it just comes out of nowhere!

    Thanks for sharing! 😀
    .-= jessica´s last blog ..From old to new =-.

  25. ha I love this!!!!! I can’t believe you got the pics to prove it!!fab!!
    She’ll love this when she is 21!!

    I am going to use the spray bottle idea!!
    My gorgeous,sweet CANTANKEROUS ‘almost three year old redhead could do with a BIG dose of your new friend!!haha!!
    Mommy’s new secret weapon!!
    .-= thewillowsnest´s last blog ..Shop Update.. yes actual originals! =-.

  26. Oh my goodness! I NEED a spray bottle (or two)!

    And no . . . you’re not alone. My three year old little boy, could probably rival your little cutie for temper tantrums and inconvenient screaming episodes. And his older sister LIVES to torment him.

    Where’s Calgon when you need it? lol
    .-= kyla´s last blog ..Wreck This Journal ~ Re-Inspired =-.

  27. Those random fits so remind me of my house every single day. Gracie just turned 3 but has been doing that for a while. And yes, her older brother loves to mess with her and stir up trouble as well.

    I guess that set up always results in the same thing no matter what family it is.

  28. @Liisa,

    Yeah, she was pretty good visiting you all. I think if you keep her busy enough, there is not much to scream about. I’m laughing at your story… funny because your daughter is so laid back, but watch out if she does get mad! I think it’s just a “girl” thing. We’re all sort of dramatic right? LOL!

  29. @Angie from The Arthur Clan,

    Oh I know!! Can you imagine all the screaming that would happen if they were married. But I don’t know… maybe they will be perfect for each other. ha!

  30. HA…having spent considerable time with the “screamer” I have to laugh! Although I do not remember any screaming in December? She was too busy finding her girlfriend James and best friend Marissa! Don’t worry the screaming will eventually stop…M used to yell “This” for everything…what do you want…THISSSSS as she gazed into the pantry closet with hundreds of options of which I was suppose to figure out what “this” was!

  31. @Paola Levi,

    Her fits come out of no where! I just laugh at it now. It’s crazy how she can turn it off in a snap. I think we’re going to be in for it when they become teenagers. YIKES! So… yes, you are not alone. I feel your pain:-)

  32. OH THANK GOODNESS! I am not alone, i have three kids 7, 5 and 3, and i often wondered what is it with my 3 year old that the others will be playing normally and yet she is always crying about something or other. How refreshing to find out that it is normal.
    P.S: was begining to have doubts about my ability to parent
    .-= Paola Levi´s last blog ..Sketch Saturday meets CCT =-.

  33. @Kari,

    Oh yeah, you’re in for it! ha! My daughter has been like this since day one. We used to call her “The Raptor” because she sounded like a Velociraptor from the Discover Channel shows about dinosaurs. Good luck with her:-)

  34. @Tanna @ Complete Organizing Solutions,

    Ahhh, another dramatic three year old. Glad to hear there are more out there. My son was not like this, so I’m learning:-) Good luck with your screamer!

  35. @Screwed Up Texan,

    Oh, I’ve read your stories…. I think they would LIKE the spray bottle and probably get you back way worse just for fun:-) ha!

  36. @Reese,

    LOL! I haven’t used it on my husband yet. He would get me back WAY worse… so I’d better not try:-)

  37. @heidi @ wonder woman wannabe,

    Thanks Heidi! I’m never sure what people will like, so I went for it. Way easier than doing a totally separate blog. I can barely keep up with the ones I have now. Have a great weekend!

  38. @Amanda {Mimi Leigh},

    Okay, now I’m laughing out loud… the cold air in the face is hilarious! I’ll have to remember that one. ha! Soooo bad, but funny:-)

  39. @ColleenwithMurals&More,

    Oh man, my son was the SAME way about the order of things when he was little. It was so funny, now he really likes to organize things… which is good because I’m a mess.

  40. @Rosemary Olson,
    Oh wow! Glad to hear she is over the screaming:-) Gives me hope! I keep thinking it’s going to get worse as she gets older. I will keep the faith that it’s just the 3 year old frustration:-) Thanks!

  41. @a thorn among roses,

    Ha! I love hearing that. I’ll be your best friend for sure… I have lots of screaming photos that I laugh at now. ha!

  42. @gina garland,

    Thanks! She probably threw more of a fit because I did have my camera out. I try to record all the silliness around here for future bribery:-)

  43. @TidyMom,
    I’m sure spraying a 13 year old would be way worse! ha. She would probably get you back a few times though:-)

  44. @Cari Hudkins,
    I know… my son will just throw things or try to punch something when he gets frustrated. I’m not used to the dramatics! Pay back for mine as a kid I guess:-)

  45. Cute story. I found it was the terrible 3’s for me with my son. 2 was nothing compared to the terribleness that seemed to come with the age of 3. Good thing their cute huh.
    .-= Jaime´s last blog ..Rainbow jigglers =-.

  46. Well I was a bit late to the party! Ha! My youngest is an attention getter whether it’s crying or doing something he knows he’s not supposed to be doing. My older two are the one who are trouble makers. I think I may give the water spray a try.
    .-= Screwed Up Texan´s last blog ..Friday Post Shout Out Week 3 =-.

  47. love your story. I too have a squirt bottle for my cat. I have to admit I have used it on my son and even my husband. Hehe.

  48. That. Was. Awesome. 🙂

    I just laughed out loud. Haha! I’m afraid that this is what I’m going to get. Little Sister is 14 months old and she knows how to throw a fit. Older Brother (4 yrs) and loves to mess with her (and loves her so fiercely so it kind of evens out in my head).

    I don’t do this to her yet, but if he is out of control in his car seat while we’re driving and it’s wintertime…..I have been known to roll down his window all the way. The cold wind in the face always gets him to stop. 🙂 My friends uses the shower trick too.

    These are great stories to remember to pull out to tell them when they are older and I honestly, can’t wait! Haha!

  49. I started my blog as my art blog, too, but found I got more comments when I posted personal stuff. Especially my 2-1/2 yr old grandson. Now, he is REALLY cute, but it really hit me to write more personal stuff.
    I love your art stuff, but these pics just cracked me up. My GS is a perfectionist and gets so upset if things are out of order! I need to take some sequence pics like yours. It tells a wonderful story!
    .-= ColleenwithMurals&More´s last blog ..Friday Follow =-.

  50. I have to tell you that you are not the only one this happens too! My now 10 year old was exactly like this. I would get so mad myself, she’d be hysterical and we’d be yelling and slapping one another – it was just a mess. I thought, this is crazy, so one day I just picked her up in the middle of a tantrum and put her in the shower and turned it on. It snapped her out of it, we hugged and then it was over. After that all I had to say was “Do you want a shower?” and she would calm down and tell me what was wrong. You just feel so badly realizing all that is going on in their little minds and they can’t always sort it out. Now, she doesn’t even remember the tantrums,. Wish I had thought to take pictures to laugh about together when she grew up.

  51. Awesome. Thanks for making every single mom pee her pants a little in laughter. This is sooo typical in our home! Glad you got it on film…I need to do that for proof later on……even if it does make the situation worse, for a moment.

  52. What a GREAT idea. I don’t know how many times I have to say, take a deep breath and use your words. Mommy can’t help you if I don’t know what is wrong. Girls are so different than boys {at least in my house} in this area.

  53. Well, my drama queen is only 18 months, but we can already tell she’s going to be a world-champion crier. What really gets her going is when her 4yo brother decides she needs to “share” something with him – which means he grabs whatever he wants out of her hands.

    And I still want another baby! My husband thinks I’m crazy.
    .-= Kari´s last blog ..Happy Birthday, Bubbaloo! =-.

  54. My 3 yr old girl is THE SAME WAY! She just looks at me blankly. Drives me ***NUTS*** Thanks for the idea!

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