Public Tantrums

Question: How to help a child having a tantrum in public?


  • Take action BEFORE you go
    • Set your child up for success
      • Don’t go when tired (either you or your children).
      • Don’t go when hungry
      • Bring a favorite toy
        • For comfort and distraction
    • Set expectations for the upcoming experience
      • Avoid making rules or threats
        • Examples to avoid saying: “When we get inside, you are NOT to touch _____” or “I will not tolerate any misbehavior inside, do you understand me?”
      • Talk about what your plan is
        • Example: “We’re just going in to grab a few items. We won’t have time for anything else”
  • Avoid getting into a power struggle
    • Watch your own words and don’t escalate
    • Listen and Empathize
  • Forget about what others think
    • Focus on your child and only your child.
      • Remember that the well-being of your child is more important than what the opinions of others might be.
  • Take steps to diminish your own stress
    • Take deep breaths
      • Before you go in, during the trip, and after it’s over.
      • It never hurts to take some deep breaths.
    • Remember some mantras
      • For example “My child isn’t giving me a hard time, my child is having a hard time”
    • Speak calmly and slowly