A toddler’s tantrums can feel hard enough to handle when you are at your home, when you can actually make him go to another room or walk away yourself. But what do you do when these little creatures cast all their fury at a public place or when you are out and about? The watchful gaze of onlooker, the fellow parents’ judgmental stares and the irked little one are a perfect mix to send any parent on an emotional tailspin. Toddlers spill out their emotion sat the most unsuitable times and places, and nothing much can be done about it. Though we hope that children and parents both are looked at with much more kindness and empathy, here are some ways to avoid and handle public tantrums.
8 Ways To Avoid Your Toddler’s Public Tantrums
- Start with some prep work: Some carefully planned preparatory work can head off a few tantrums even before they start. At home, you can give your child different situations and watch his reactions and responses. Taking the opportunity, you can explain your child right from wrong and give him some understanding of the cause. Working through a few scenarios will enable your toddler to channelize his anger somewhere else, and when such a situation arises in real life, it will be easier for the child to deal with the same
- Set expectations: When you are going out, make sure you set the expectations early on. For example, if it is grocery shopping, tell your child clearly that you are going to but some milk, eggs, and vegetables. You are not going to buy a toy or an ice-cream at the store. Repeat the information so that your child knows exactly where and what purpose is in his agenda as of now. Once your child hears the same thing plenty of times, he will rephrase the same to you, and you will get your point across
- Carry snacks: If you know you will be out for a longer duration, it would be wise to pack on a few munchies in the bag. If you are going somewhere where you know other mothers would be carrying food, make sure that you carry some of it as well. Should a situation arise when your child has to go hungry or borrow snacks from friend who is unwilling to share, your expectations of having a calm boy are absolutely exaggerated. If you think that you will grab some sandwich on the way home, remember it is a toddler we are talking about
- Change a rule? Explain why: So rules are clearly meant to be broken, right? If you have to make an exception to a rule that you have been following, make sure your tot knows why. If you never buy your child ice-cream when he is in the park, and you want to reward him today because he did something great, like the first successful potty run. Explain him clearly that because of this achievement he is getting an ice-cream cone in the park. Because today he has done something great, it is a special day, and tomorrow we will be back to following the rule
- Resist the temptation to give in: So you are out shopping and your child starts off with a tantrum. You need to finish the shopping so should you buy the toy he has been crying for? Seems easy, yeah? But actually, you should resist this temptation to give in and perhaps take your kid to a secluded area and let him cry his heart. Ignore him, and he should calm down. Do not take any stupid comments from those around, and do not let those snide remarks bother you at all. Once your child calms down, give him a choice to finish the job in hand now and go home, or go home right now and he spends one hour in his room
- Consistency is the key: The art of effective parenting lies in being consistent. Children throw tantrums when they know that their parents will give in. For example, when you are out shopping and your child throws a tantrum to buy a toy, take him to a corner, grab a water bottle and let him cry out. Ignore the people who stare and ignore the snide comments, if any. Once your child has calmed down, offer him a deal. We shop and finish the job in hand now and he gets rewarded with a candy once you get home, or you go home right now and his TV time for the day is gone
- Ignore judging people: Strangers, yes that is what they are. A screaming child at your tow, a shopping cart full of groceries and some people with their unfriendly stares are enough to put you in a panic mode. But wait! Why bother? Anyone with kids would actually be thinking that it’s you in the hot seat today, and they want to see how you handle this. And anyone else, is actually not important to bother you. Shut your mind for them and focus on your child. To anyone who comments on your parenting, do not hesitate to give them a nice lecture. Never feel apologetic to have a child, never
- Listen to your child: Once you are back home, listen to your child’s feelings and let your child feel connected to you. Let him release his tension than bottling them up. By being supportive, you are essentially creating a bond with your child, he feels close to you and also gets to vent his feelings to his mommy. What can be better than this?
These 8 ways will surely help you avoid public tantrums, but remember, there is nothing like fool-proof parenting. Learn on the go, keep learning, keep evolving.