Tantrums are simply a part of everyday life if you have a toddler, and the best way to avoid a public tantrum is to steer clear of situations that may trigger them. Although you may not be able to circumvent your toddlers public meltdowns on every occasion, it is possible to minimize their frequency with the help of a few tips.
You are more likely to experience a tantrum if your child is hungry or tired. Do the shopping and other tasks only if he is fed and well rested – or do not take him to the supermarket. If you have to take him, ensure that you carry a healthy snack, and limit the time you spend shopping.
Frustration can be a frequent trigger for tantrums. If you know that your child will want to visit a toy store when you are in the city, then you should allocate time for the visit, or consider whether you really need to make the trip. This does not mean that you are a weak or ineffective parent. It is better to predict how your child will behave, and take all the consequences into consideration.
Distract your child if a situation threatens to escalate into a tantrum. If your little one takes interest in a fragile object in a store, divert his attention by focusing on something more appropriate. Show him how handsome he looks in a mirror, or how soft a sweater feels against his skin. Drawing his attention away from temptation works well in averting tantrums. At this stage, your child is naturally inquisitive and interested in all things, so it is easier to redirect his interest to something he will find just as exciting.
It is not always possible to prevent a public tantrum, and once one begins it is impossible for a child to behave reasonably. If you are embarrassed by your child’s tantrum, it is best to leave the scene. It will be less stressful for everyone, although you may have to return later to finish your errands. If you cannot leave, (maybe you are sitting in the doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room), then try to move away from the immediate location by stepping outside until the tantrum subsides.
When the tantrum is over, your child will probably need consolation. Losing control can be quite disturbing for him, and it is reassuring if you hold him close. Nevertheless, you should stick to the rules after a tantrum. If you said that it was time to leave the park and a tantrum ensued, you should still leave the park once it has subsided. To soothe your child, and show that you understand how he feels, you can offer to read his favorite storybook when you arrive home.
Many toddlers have temper tantrums, and sometimes they happen in public. Try to ignore the negative reactions of strangers, and remember that your child’s tantrum does not define your relationship, or imply that you are incapable. It simply means that you are the parent of a young child who is learning to cope with his emotions. People may stare, but it is likely that most are compassionate, not critical. Regardless of the reaction of bystanders, your child does not understand that you are embarrassed by the situation. The tantrum is not meant to humiliate you, so respond accordingly.
It may be comforting to know that temper tantrums will lessen as your child grows older and his communication skills develop. Until then, you may prefer not to stray too far from home, or develop strategies for coping when the occasional tantrum occurs.