You’re out with your toddler, running errands or socialising. Things are going well, and suddenly your toddler is on the floor, having a tantrum. Everyone is staring at you, many with judging eyes. Some people even make comments. This is one of the most embarrassing moments a parent can face. What should you do when your toddler has a public meltdown?
This is one of the most important things to remember. When your toddler is losing it in public, do not take part in the meltdown. Stay calm and in control as this will help your child to eventually regain their composure as well.
Ignore the Crowd
Try not to worry about what other people think about your child or your parenting. When your little one is having a public tantrum, don’t worry about what the man in line behind you is thinking about the situation. Even if your child’s tantrum has drawn a crowd of onlookers, focus on your child. If someone stares disapprovingly, or makes a rude comment, don’t give them your time or energy. People will have their opinions, but their opinions don’t matter.
Discipline for the Child, Not the Public
Don’t take the people around you into account when you are dealing with your child’s tantrum. Focus on your child and pay attention to what you need to do. If your child needs to sit and talk, then find a place to do that.
Resist to the urge to use your words to your child in order to make a statement to someone else. There is one thing worse than a toddler in the middle of a tantrum, and that is a parent trying to make themselves look good while supposedly admonishing their child. Work towards a solution for your child, rather than for a stamp of approval from the adults around you.
Don’t Give in to a Tantrum
If your child is screaming for a chocolate bar from the checkout line, don’t buy it for him or her in order to stop the tantrum. This is the quickest way to ensure that more tantrums will happen again and again. If you say no, the tantrum may escalate this time, but it will likely save you from more of these situations in the future. Hold to your “no” and in the future it will take less effort for your child to realize that you are always serious about your decisions.
If you are in a building or a crowd, it may be helpful to stop what you are doing, whether that be shopping or eating in a crowded restaurant. Walk your child to a quiet spot and regroup. Sometimes a change of location is all that is needed for a change in behaviour.
Avoid Natural Consequences
A little prevention goes a long way. If you are going to have a long and tiring day out, be sure that your little one has had enough sleep, and a good meal on their stomach. It is a natural consequence that if we do not give our child what they need to get through a tiring event, they will eventually react in an undesirable manner.
All toddlers have tantrums, and public meltdowns can be the worst kind. Keep your cool and use these tips to help your little one to get through their tantrum, and both of you will feel better later.