If you’re a parent of a toddler, you’ve probably experienced a public tantrum or two. Maybe you were at the grocery store, a restaurant, or a park. If you haven’t experienced one yet, be prepared – it will happen eventually. Tantrums are a normal part of toddlerhood, but that doesn’t make them any easier to handle, especially when they happen in public.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for navigating public tantrums and how to keep your cool while supporting your toddler.
Get to know your toddler’s triggers
The first step in handling public tantrums is to understand what triggers them. Does your toddler get tired or hungry easily? Does he or she get overwhelmed in new situations or around new people?
Once you identify these triggers, you can plan accordingly. Bring snacks and water, plan outings during well-rested times of the day, and avoid overwhelming situations if possible. Knowing your toddler’s triggers can help prevent tantrums before they even start.
Stay calm and positive
When your toddler starts to have a tantrum in public, it can be tempting to react with frustration, anger, or embarrassment. However, it’s essential to stay calm and positive.
Your child is likely feeding off of your emotions, so if you’re upset, it can escalate the situation. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and speak in a reassuring tone. Your toddler is looking to you for guidance, and your calm demeanor can signal that everything is okay.
Offer choices and distractions
As toddlers are learning independence, they crave control over their surroundings. Offer choices whenever possible.
For example, if you’re in a restaurant, ask if your child wants to sit in a booth or a chair. Give your toddler a sense of control over the situation, and it may help redirect the tantrum. Additionally, offer distractions like toys, books, or a snack to help take your toddler’s mind off the situation.
When your toddler is having a tantrum, it’s important to respond with empathy and understanding.
Though it’s frustrating for you as a parent, it’s essential to remember that tantrums are a normal part of development. Respond with phrases like, “I understand you’re upset” or “It’s okay to be angry, but we need to calm down now.”
Validating your toddler’s emotions can help deescalate the situation and reassure your child that you’re there to support him or her.
Plan for follow-up
After a tantrum, it’s essential to plan for follow-up. Talk to your toddler about what happened and how to handle similar situations in the future. If your toddler was upset because he or she was hungry, remind yourself to pack snacks next time.
If your toddler was overwhelmed in a crowded place, consider planning outings during quieter times of the day. Reflecting on the situation and planning for the future can help prevent tantrums from happening again.
Navigating public tantrums isn’t easy, but with a little preparation and some proactive responses, you can support your toddler and keep your cool. Remember to get to know your toddler’s triggers, stay calm and positive, offer choices and distractions, respond empathetically, and plan for follow-up. By doing so, you can help prevent tantrums, manage them when they happen, and reassure your toddler that you’re there to support him or her. Good luck!