Tantrums are inevitable. When a toddler doesn’t get what he wants, that frustration can transform your sweet little angel into a raging nightmare in seconds. You may be able to deal with the tidal wave of emotion in the comfort of your own home, but what about when you’re out in public? Here are five ways you can stop a public tantrum and help get your child back on track.
Keep your cool
It’s easy to get flustered when it seems like everyone in the checkout line is shooting judgmental looks at you and your little monster. Breathe in. Breathe out. Your calm reaction will help you deal with the situation, and set the example for your child. If you raise your voice and get exasperated, it will only escalate the tantrum.
Create a diversion
Did you ever notice that the model mamas are the ones with the big bags? That’s because they’re prepared. When you’re stocking your bag with diapers, wipes and sippy cups, throw in a few extra goodies like small toys from a dollar store or Happy Meal prizes, pipe cleaners, board books, or a few crayons and a notepad. If your toddler looks like he’s headed for a meltdown, go for the quick diversion. The key is to divert before the situation escalates into a full-blown tantrum. The last thing you want is your child thinking he’s being rewarded for his inappropriate behavior.
Take a snack break
Veteran moms will be the first to tell you that the worst tantrums come when the kids are tired or hungry. If only we could wave a magic wand and put our overtired kiddos to sleep in the shopping cart. Having a stash of snacks on hand is the next best thing. Again, know the signs, so you can head off a tantrum with a quick munch before it’s too late.
Hug it out
Sometimes you can squash the fits of rage with a firm hug. This doesn’t work with all kids, and it doesn’t work every time. However when it does, you’ll feel like you won the Mom-of-the-Year award.
Make a quick exit
As a last resort, stop the public tantrum by making a quick exit. Yes, you may still have a tantrum on your hands, but at least it won’t be on display. This is also a good way to teach your child about natural consequences. If he’s throwing a tantrum about not getting something he wants at the store, he’ll learn that his behavior resulted in him not getting anything at the store. Unfortunately, this might mean you don’t get anything either. It’s not always easy to walk away from a cart full of groceries, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did.