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A parent’s guide to dealing with public tantrums

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  • Dealing with tantrums is never easy.
  • Here are some tips for parents.
  • Help keep those public melt-downs at bay.

Imagine this: You’re in the middle of a bustling grocery store, and suddenly, your child erupts into a full-blown tantrum.

Screaming, crying, and floor-kicking—the whole shebang.

It’s a situation almost every parent has faced, yet it never ceases to be embarrassing or stressful.

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Children throw tantrums for a variety of reasons — tiredness, hunger, or simply an inability to express their feelings.

Understanding what triggers your child can help you foresee potential meltdowns and possibly prevent them.

Keep a close eye on your child’s cues and try to identify patterns.

The more you know about what sets them off, the better equipped you’ll be to diffuse the situation.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Snacks, vegetable sticks, hummus
Photo: Mundo Archive

The key to dealing with tantrums is to stop them before they start.

Always carry a small bag of essentials like snacks, water, and a favorite toy to provide comfort and distraction.

Try to stick to regular nap schedules even when you’re out and about.

A well-rested, well-fed child is less likely to throw a tantrum, making your public outings more enjoyable for everyone.

Calm amidst the storm

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Photo: Shutterstock

When a temper tantrum does occur, your immediate response is crucial.

First, take a deep breath to center yourself — your calm demeanor can help pacify your child.

Speak softly and at their eye level, validating their feelings without yielding to unreasonable demands.

Though it’s tough, ignore judgmental stares from bystanders. Remember, your primary concern is comforting your child.

Dealing with tantrums: The power of isolation

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Sometimes, the best thing to do is remove the child from crowds and other people.

Find a quiet corner or take them outside for a breather.

This not only takes away the audience but also helps your child understand that tantrums won’t attract attention.

When the situation cools down, it’s an opportunity to talk to your child about better ways to express their frustrations.

Timeouts for toddlers: Not just for home

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The concept of a timeout isn’t just limited to your home; it can also be applied in public spaces.

Choose a spot that’s away from distractions and people.

Explain to your child why they’re having a timeout and how they can make better choices next time.

Even in public, maintaining consistent disciplinary actions is essential for dealing with tantrums and teaching your child proper behavior.

When all else fails: The exit strategy

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There are instances when the tantrum is too extreme, and nothing seems to work.

In these cases, it might be best to abandon your plans and head home.

The car ride back can serve as a cooldown period for both you and your child.

Although it’s inconvenient, sometimes the most loving thing to do is to remove the child from an overwhelming situation.

Dealing with tantrums after the fact

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Photo: Mundo Archive

After the dust has settled and emotions are no longer running high, take some time to talk with your child.

Use simple language to discuss what happened, why it was unacceptable, and how to avoid it in the future.

This post-tantrum conversation can provide valuable teaching moments, helping your child develop better emotional regulation skills over time.

With these strategies in hand, you’ll be better equipped to handle public meltdowns, turning potentially embarrassing situations into teachable moments for your child.

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