Even for the most proactive, dedicated parent, a public temper tantrum is an almost unavoidable part of parenting. While a child may be sweet and patient on a normal basis, eventually, they’re going to reach the limit of their ability to stand running errands or going grocery shopping – and that’s when disaster strikes. As a parent, a public tantrum can be a truly unpleasant experience. However, even in the face of a nasty tantrum, there are some techniques you can use to quell the storm and get your kid back to a normal volume and a better mood. Here are a few simple ideas for defusing a public temper tantrum:
Without a doubt, the worst thing you could do is mirror your child’s emotions. You may be tempted to get mad, yell, or punish your child – but reflecting their emotions only teaches them that a tantrum is a great way to get a rise out of you! Instead, keep control of your emotions and remain calm. Then, coolly and calmly plan your next move.
While you may be thinking about the other adults giving your dirty looks from the produce section, right now, your main priority should be your child. Instead of worrying about what other people are thinking, get down on the same level as your child and look them in the eyes, trying to engage with them directly. Validating your child’s feelings in this way – without validating the behavior – can help to quell their mood and get them back to a more reasonable state.
Once you have your child back to a more reasonable volume, it’s time to use the art of distraction. Children love to feel important and like they have control over a situation, and providing your child with a simple task is a great way to provide that feeling for them. Ask them to go get a few bananas and bring them over, or perhaps to go and find a special ingredient in tonight’s dinner. Giving them a small, simple task is a great way to get them re-engaged in something else than the tantrum and make it through the rest of the trip.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful, and if you have any other suggestions for handling tantrums when you’re out on the town, we’d love to hear them! Feel free to call us at 469.287.0332 with any questions or comments on tantrums or any other aspect of parenting. If you’d like to find out more about The Blue Elephant, we encourage you to reach out to us at our contact page to schedule a tour or learn more about joining our family. We hope to hear from you soon, and we look forward to seeing you back at this blog for more tips and info on all things parenting!