For a lot of parents, dealing with a temperamental toddler in public isn’t always easy. That’s because many moms and dads try to find the fine line between inconspicuously telling their toddler that their behavior is unacceptable without having to dramatically punish them in public. But as many parents know all too well, it’s not always easy. As much as we try to stay calm and in control, our children’s behavior oftentimes leave us stressed, frazzled, and if not completely embarrassed or humiliated. That’s because kids can start crying simply because they received the wrong flavor of ice cream, didn’t get the toy they wanted at a department store, or get their electronic tablet or screen time taken away. For a lot of parents, the key is keeping their cool and composure during the worst of times.
Now, many of these situations might happen with toddlers, but kids know when they are pushing their parents’ limits. Luckily, there are several tried-and-tested ways that you can deal with your child’s temper tantrum without having to go into meltdown mode on your own.
Communicate With Your Toddler
First and foremost, understand why your child might be upset and why they are currently spiraling down into meltdown mode. After all, everything happens for a reason and kids are sometimes justifiably angry for things that might not go their way. Communicate with your toddler and ask them questions. When they are ready, they will answer you.
Also keep in mind that the louder your child yells, the softer you should speak on your end. Take control of the situation by modeling calm behavior.
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Sometimes the easiest and swiftest way to end a toddler’s tantrum, and especially in public, is to distract them. In other words, swiftly move on from one activity to another. If your child is upset because they didn’t get something they desired from a toy store, try reminding them of all the toys they already have in their possession, or ones that they might have forgotten about. That, or you can turn on their favorite television show or listen to their favorite song as a way to help calm them down.
Believe it or not, you may also have plenty of distractions in your own purse. A set of keys might work well for younger children while a snack or a book that a child hasn’t seen for awhile might help calm down older kids.
Don’t Try To Calm Them Down
For many parents, saying “calm down” might sound like it’s the trick, but you are actually doing your child more harm than good. Your best bet is to ignore your child completely unless they are in physical pain. Give them the space they need. Otherwise, walk out of the room and let your child try to calm him or herself down on their own. You can also take away a toy, a certain privilege, or put your child in time out. If your child becomes a harm to other children or adults around them or starts hitting, kicking, biting or throwing things, then stop them and remove them from the situation.
Give Your Child Support
One of the easiest ways to help a child control their emotions is by simply giving them a hug. It may also be the most efficient way of helping them settle down. And while you are giving them a hug, refrain from saying anything. By giving your child a big, firm hug, you are telling them – without words – that you are there to help support them. Hugs make kids feel secure and it also lets them know that you care for them. It also brings them back to their “safe place” – mom or dad’s arms and let’s them know that it’s ok for them to get their emotions out.
Avoid Further Temper Tantrums
In other words, allow your child to take one toy or food item if you plan on running errands with them. Kids want and crave attention above anything else, so try and set aside regular playtime with your toddler. Let him or her choose the activity and give them your full attention. This shared experience will have a positive outcome for both you and your child. In addition, you can also model healthy ways to handle your own frustration in front of your child.
Also, make sure that they are fully rested. Oftentimes, many toddlers go into meltdown mode simply because they didn’t get enough rest or might have skipped a morning or afternoon nap.