Best Way To Handle Toddler Tantrums In Public 

You are maybe at the grocery store, grocery shopping. Everything is in order until suddenly your toddler resumes their meltdown. They cause a scene and everyone starts to stare. You try to get them to calm down but all attempts are unsuccessful. This leads parents to looking for the best way to handle toddler tantrums in public to avoid the embarrassment.

This is a scene that most parents are familiar with. Toddlers lack that awareness that they need to comport themselves. The stares you get may make you feel unsure about your parenting skills. You feel a rush of several difficult emotions.

Handling toddlers can be a special kind of art. And, you need not feel like you are alone in this or your child is acting outside of normal expectations for a toddler.

This article will equip you with helpful strategies and approaches to manage your child when they throw tantrums in public.


Why Does My Child Throw Tantrums In Public?

You may have seen parents whose children always comport themselves in public. This could further aggravate your feelings of frustration and anger towards your child. But let’s take a few steps back together and understand why your child may be acting as they are doing.

1. Developmental Milestones:

Tantrums are often a result of your child’s stage of development. Toddlers are famous for their limited language skills and lack of awareness. They use tantrums as a way to express frustration when they feel unheard or their needs are not being met.

2. Emotional Outlet:

The toddler phase is a stage of learning and many toddlers are still learning to recognize the different emotions and how to deal with them. Since they do not have the right knowledge to express themselves verbally, a tantrum is their way of letting you know that something is wrong, whether it’s hunger, tiredness, or something as simple as not getting what they want.

3. Testing Boundaries:

As children grow, they naturally test boundaries to see how much control they can exert over their environment. Public tantrums can be a way for toddlers to test your reactions and see if they can maneuver your decisions.

4. Overstimulation and Fatigue:

Public places can be overwhelming for toddlers. The bright lights, loud noises, and unfamiliar faces can be overstimulating subsequently leading to tantrums. Fatigue can further worsen the situation increasing the occurrence of meltdowns.

Read Also: How To Stop Baby Pulling and Eating their Hair


What To do When Toddler Tantrums In Public?

You’ve just witnessed your toddler’s meltdown in the middle of a crowded store drawing unwanted attention. You’re likely to enter either fight state, getting angry and scolding your child or the flight or freeze state where you just can’t understand why your child won’t stop.

Either of these responses are normal. Here are a few things you can try out next time to handle the situation better:

1. Stay Calm and Breathe:

The only way to effectively handle the situation at this point is to maintain your composure. Take a deep breath, count to ten, do whatever it takes to keep your own emotions in check. Remember, you’re the role model here, and staying calm sets the tone for handling the situation.

2. Assess What They May Be Needing:

Try to find out what might be causing the tantrum. Could it be that your toddler is hungry, tired, or in need of a diaper change? Sometimes, meeting their basic needs is all the magic that’s needed.

3. Offer Comfort and Reassurance:

Reacting instead of responding will worsen the situation for both you and your toddler. Instead of reacting from a place of frustration, offer comfort by gently speaking to them or offering a hug if they’ll accept it. Remind them that you’re there to help and that you understand their feelings.

4. Try Distractions:

Toddlers have short attention spans, and sometimes, a simple distraction can do the trick. Carry a small toy, book, or snack in your bag that you can wave in their faces when they start acting out. Engaging their senses with something new can shift their focus from the tantrum-trigger.

5. Go to a Quiet Place:

If the tantrum continues despite every attempt to pacify them and you’re in a public space, take them to a quieter spot. This can help reduce overstimulation and provide a soothing environment for them to become calm.

6. Set Clear Boundaries:

While it’s important to be empathetic, it’s also necessary to maintain boundaries. If your child’s tantrum is the result of not getting what they want, calmly and firmly explain the situation. Let them know that certain behaviors are not acceptable. And that acting out won’t help them get what they desire.


How Do I Get My Child To Stop Screaming And Throwing Tantrums In Public

Here’s a guide on how to get your child to stop throwing tantrums in public:

1. Understand Your Child’s Triggers:

First things first, you need to understand the things that trigger your child’s tantrum. This could be hunger, tiredness, frustration from being unable to communicate, or a reaction to certain environments? By identifying these triggers, you can take make arrangements to handle them or limit exposure to triggers.

2. Maintain a Consistent Routine:

Toddlers thrive on routine and predictability. Try to keep a consistent daily schedule. This schedule should include regular meal times, naps, and bedtime. This can help reduce the tantrums that are caused by hunger or exhaustion.

3. Teach Emotional Intelligence:

While toddlers may not yet know how to express their feelings, you can teach them emotional intelligence by using simple words to describe emotions like “happy,” “sad,” or “angry.” Encourage them to use words to describe what they are feeling instead of having a meltdown.

4. Offer Choices:

Toddlers often desire a sense of control over their lives. Give them choices whenever possible, such as letting them pick their snack or choose which outfits to wear . This can help them feel more in control and reduce the likelihood of a meltdown.

5. Use Positive Reinforcement:

Praise and reward your child when they are of good behavior, like sharing, using polite words, or staying calm in overwhelming situations. Positive reinforcement can motivate them to continue behaving well.

6. Practice Patience and Empathy:

Whenever tantrums occur, approach them with patience and empathy. Your child is still learning how to understand their emotions, and they greatly need your support to understand and correctly express their feelings.

7. Create Safe Spaces:

Sometimes, tantrums are toddlers’ ways of releasing pent-up frustration or anger. Create a things like “safe spaces” at home where they can go to calm down and let out their emotions. This can be a small corner with soft pillows or a reserved “cool-down” chair.

8. Model Calm Behavior:

Children often imitate their parents’ behavior. If you remain calm and composed during stressful moments, your child is more likely to manage their emotions in a similar way.

9. Seek Professional Guidance if Necessary:

You should make arrangements to see a child psychologist if the tantrums continue after every attempt to help them manage their emotions.

Read Also: 12 Common Unwanted Behaviors in Kids and How To Handle Them


Best Way To Handle Toddler Tantrums In Public

Having discussed the different approaches you can take to manage toddler tantrums, let’s look at the way way to handle this whenever a tantrum happens in public.

1. Be Prepared:

What knocks most parents out is the fact that they are not expecting these behaviors when they happen. Always be prepared before going out with your toddler. Take things like snacks, water, or their favorite toy with you when going out. This will better equip you to manage a meltdown when it happens.

2. Maintain a Calm Demeanor:

At this phase of their life, toddlers pay the most attention to cues. And in any situation they find themselves, they are sensitive to cues from their parents. Ensure you stay calm when they begin. Reacting instead of responding will fuel the tantrum.

3. Stay Close:

Always keep you child at arm’s reach in public. When you are close, it’s easier to mange the triggers as you can attend to them swiftly.

4. Practice Effective Communication:

Your toddler’s vocabulary may be limited, but you can still encourage them to express their feelings. Ask simple questions like, “Are you hungry?” or “Do you need a break?” to help them use thier words to describe their emotions.

5. Offer Choices:

When you are out with them, give them choices. This can help when they start to feel overwhelming emotions. Ask if they’d like to hold your hand while walking or if they prefer to be carried. This sense of control can reduce frustration.

6. Remove Them from the Situation if Necessary:

Taking your toddler from the environment that caused the overstimulation can help them become calm again.

7. Be Mindful of Timing:

Try your best to avoid scheduling outings when its time for your child’s nap or meal times. Hunger and fatigue are very common triggers for tantrums.

8. Learn from Each Tantrum:

Every tantrum is an opportunity to learn more about your child and grow. Always reflect on what triggered the tantrum and the ways you responded. This will help you understand what calms your child and what doesn’t.

Read Also: My 3 Year Old Behavior Is Out Of Control: Here Is What to Do


Conclusion on: Best Way To Handle Toddler Tantrums In Public

Parenting is by default daunting and having to deal with tantrums can make it a lot more stressful. Do not forget to care for yourself and this makes it easier for you to show up as your best for your child.

Understand why your child throws tantrums and tailor the strategies shared above to manage their meltdowns. Remember, this is only a phase in your child’s life and they would let go of the habit over time.