As angelic as they can be, kids are equally capable of being little devils. They’re especially adept at tantrum throwing and tend to have no filter with regard to where or when they do so. Consequently, you may have often found yourself in a situation where you had to face one of these infamous tantrums when you and your little one were out in public. These ones are tricky to handle which is why we present you with some tips:
It’s important to know what stimuli might trigger a tantrum - some common triggers include hunger, fatigue, loud noises, strangers, things that cause excitement, etc. Think about where you’re going - whether it’s the mall (lots of toys to buy), the grocery store (sweets), the park (strangers), someone’s house (new environment), the theatre (scary/loud movies) - and think of all the things that could possibly act as triggers. Doing this can help you avoid these stimuli or be prepared to face them.
If you have a decent idea of the various environmental triggers that might lead to tantrums, try to figure out ways to prevent them from causing the tantrum. In other words, while you’re identifying triggers, also identify cures/anti-triggers. If you have a long day planned, make sure you carry enough food and water and that your child is well fed throughout the day, in order to prevent hunger and thirst related tantrums. Maybe bring along a favourite stuffed toy if you’re going to a place where you feel your child might get bored or frightened.
Stand your ground when dealing with tantrums. Giving into your child’s demands would only reinforce that behaviour; Your little one will learn that throwing a tantrum equates to getting what they want, which means you’ll probably deal with a lot of tantrums in the future. If you’re stern about your stand on a particular topic, your kid will learn that throwing tantrums will get them nowhere and that the tantrums will not be tolerated. Crying won’t get you any candy.
While it’s important to be stern, it’s equally important to try and understand the reasons behind the tantrum and be sensitive to them. Try to get to the bottom of the problem and empathize with your little one. This act in itself might help your kid calm down as he/she will feel heard and comforted by the fact that you are concerned. Additionally, doing this might help you find a better way to solve the problem that simply denying your child what they want.
One thing that isn’t stressed on enough is learning to ignore the judgement. When you’re in public and your kid is throwing a tantrum, there are bound to be a lot of heads turned your way, some with judgement written all over their faces. It’s natural to feel embarrassed in such cases, and many parents scold their child for it. At the end of the day, your priority is your child, not those random strangers. What matters is that something is bothering your child and your duty is to fix that. It’s natural for kids to throw tantrums and you have no obligation to the random strangers that should make you feel apologetic for your child’s behaviour. So remember not to take out your frustration on your kid.
Set some ground rules or expectations with your kid before getting out of the house so that he/she knows what kind of behaviour is expected and what kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. If these rules are broken, then proportionate punishment or scolding is justified and will help your child learn to behave properly. Remind your kid of these rules if you sense a tantrum coming on - this can help curb a possible tantrum.
If you feel like there’s nothing you can do to help your little one feel better or make the tantrum start, remember that it’s okay to leave. Remove your kid from the triggering situation - this might help the tantrum go away or help you both get a clearer head to deal with the issue. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Sometimes, there may not be solutions. If your child successfully overcomes a tantrum, remember to give him/her reassurance and love to make them feel comforted and show them your appreciation. This can help increase positivity between the two of you and in the situation.
Some tantrums may be easy to deal with it, while others may not. Remember to keep your cool because you losing your cool would probably make your little one feel worse and therefore worsen the tantrum. Stay calm and try dealing with it methodically. It’s not as hard as it may seem in that situation.