Five tips on dealing with public toddler tantrums
Finding oneself in a full-blown tantrum, and in a public place, is the worst nightmare a parent often dreads. If you do have a howling child, don’t feel embarrassed though. Unlike what you may think, your child does not understand your humiliation and does not intend to embarrass you in public. You might get some dirty and judgemental looks, but do also keep in mind that the onlookers are either not yet a parent of a toddler or they themselves have gone through (and forgotten) the phase. Patience is a virtue. Your mantra in such situations is to stay calm.
If you still haven’t witnessed one, you might be wondering what a tantrum is? Tantrum can be characterized as any volatile act of a kid, such as, a very animated and emotional outburst, often accompanied by a stubborn and unruly behaviour, and uncontrollable or shrill howling, and very often for unreasonable demands placed on the parent.
Every child is bound to throw tantrums at some point, in her growing years. One may almost call it a prerequisite. However, there are some ways which will help you lower down the frequency of such mortifying episodes.
1. Set expectations - Setting ground rules is the key. If you are heading for a long day, either for shopping or for socialising, doing a prep talk before the trip goes a long way. Explain to her the reason for the excursion. Knowing the ‘things’ on which you may be cornered and being prepared with a diffuser in mind, will not only result in a happy child but also a much happier you.
2. Handle it before it hits - If you are a smart parent, you will grab the ball before it hits the post. Try to keep a tab on the reasons why the child gets cranky. More often than not, frustration is the main factor for the start of any meltdown. Ensure that your packet of joy is well fed and rested before you start. Keep a few snacks and drinks in hand and offer them to her at frequent intervals.
3. Stand your ground - Always remember who the parent is! If you are clear in your mind as to what all things are non-negotiable, your conviction will actually be surprisingly contagious. Don’t get confused / frightened by an outburst and be then led into succumbing to unreasonable demands. Children, be it any age, do get ‘enlightened’ very easily about what tactics work and next time, they might come out with a better, modified version of their act.
4. Distraction - The task may appear difficult, but believe it or not, a child’s attention span is comparatively fleeting. Keep a bag full of goodies (preferably those that she may not have seen in a long time) and let her wander through the magic box. You might want to do a happy dance after successful distraction from the anticipated lobbying for a new toy.
5. Enough attention and encouragement - Be generous with what every child needs the most from a parent. Many a times, the reason behind a tantrum is nothing more than just trying to grab your undivided time and attention. A small whimper might blow into a disproportionate screaming only because you did not stop to hear her story and was busy trying to read through the cosmetic label instead. Timely encouragements and appreciation for as simple a task as keeping the teddy back in the aisle rack will encourage her to do more such actions. At the end of the day, everyone needs a pat for a good job done.
Regardless of all the frustration and weariness that ensues after a tiring day at work, never forget to give your toddler lots of hugs and appreciation. Also keep in mind that this phase too shall pass. As your child learns to better understand to tackle her emotions, she will also get much better and more expressive with her feelings.