A child throwing a tantrum in a public place is not a very uncommon sight. A few years back when I had not joined the moms club I used to be a part of the onlookers rolling their eyes and feeling sorry for the parents of the tantrum stricken child. Fast forward a few years after joining the mom’s club I find myself being the parent of twins having a meltdown in a busy public place. I would love to be a public figure and would bask in the glory of public attention. But to be honest, this is not the kind of public attention I wanted. When my twins were around 3.5years-4years I have been in this miserable situation pretty often. Now they are 6 years, so the frequency of these embarrassing meltdown has significantly gone down since it is possible to reason out with them at this age.
It is funny but when my KK twins were toddlers it looked like they had a pact before leaving home that they would throw a tantrum in unison. Somehow both would start creating a scene at the same time irrespective of me going though the rule book a trillion times before leaving home. Both of them would assure me that they would be on their best behavior before leaving home, but somehow as soon as we reach the store or any public place I would feel that they had a short term memory loss issue (like in the movie Gajini) since the twin meltdown event would start soon!!
There are definitely ways to tame such embarrassing situations:
- Intermittent snacks or treats along with juice or water are always an easy way to minimize meltdowns specially in grocery stores. It keeps the kids busy and controls the situation even before it starts.
- It is important for the parent to not throw a tantrum when the child is having a meltdown. I am not joking !! This does happen. Sometimes we parents are so stressed out that we start matching their tantrum with ours. It is important to maintain our sanity and control the situation.
- Giving a warm, cuddly hug might help sometimes though not always. What’s the harm in trying right?
- Moving away the toddler from the trigger point of the meltdown generally helps. Distracting them definitely helps in bringing the situation under control.
- Spanking or shouting at the screaming toddler will aggravate the situation. Better to refrain from losing our cool at that point. It is advisable to talk to the toddler in a softer voice and to reiterate our love for the child.
- It is very important to make the child realize later what they did and that kind of behavior is not acceptable. The child needs to be talked to when he or she is in a calmer mood to make sure they understand that their tantrum infected behavior was not appreciated at all.
- Taking the kids to any public event or having many guests at home when the child is hungry or has had a lack of sleep will assure you a meltdown situation. So important to make sure that the little one’s tummy is full, and the child is well rested.
I saw a mom, juggling between a 4 year old and a 2 year old where the 4 year old was having a meltdown in the supermarket and that brought back the toddler tantrum memory of my twins some 2.5 years back . Now things are easier since they are close to 7. Any type of tantrum be it at home or at a public place can be addressed by talking to the twins openly. Laying down the pros and cons of the tantrum helps them understand the consequences and helps in putting a stop to it.
Patience is the key to solve such unpleasant situations.
Happy Parenting till then!!
Also read: Toddler Fears: #2 Fear of Strangers