As a parent, one of the most dread-inducing moments is when your kid throws a fit, especially when it happens outside of the home. It can draw judgmental glances from onlookers and may even make it feel like you can barely keep your cool.
Public meltdowns are something that drive even the most level-headed of parents mad - when you are staring a screeching child in the face as he flings all the toys off the store shelves, it can feel like nothing will stop this behavior. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid kids' tantrums in public places. You can use these meltdown-prevention techniques in your own life by following these temper tantrum tips.
If you want to know how to prevent a tantrum, you first have to know what causes a tantrum. Sometimes it's because your child is tired, hungry, or just plain bored. Unfortunately, there are also times when your kid might start crying for what feels like no reason whatsoever. If you're worried that all hope is lost, then try out the following hacks to avoid tantrums. They may be just what you need to avoid awkward, uncomfortable tantrums from your child in the future.
Most adults have admitted to being "hangry" at one point or another, so it's no wonder that a hungry child can share similar (albeit much louder) frustrations. If you and your child are out and about during the day, try to keep meals at a normal time to prevent a hungry tantrum from occurring. If long stretches between meals are unavoidable, pack some snacks to tide your child over.
A tired child is often a grumpy child, which makes them a tantrum just waiting to happen. Try to avoid too many activities in one day. If there is an unavoidable day full of activities coming up, try to make sure your child gets a full night of rest beforehand in case naptime needs to be skipped.
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, an early childhood specialist, says sleep deprivation is behind many tantrums:
Often it is hard to recognize that children are sleep-deprived because they get wired. When they get over-tired, their adrenal system kicks in and they become more active. Then they start picking on siblings, chasing the dog, and staying active to keep from falling asleep. Parents don’t link this misbehavior to lack of sleep.
If your child is throwing a fit because they want a toy or a candy bar or to play a little longer, it may be tempting from time to time to just let them have what they want. It's the easiest solution - but, obviously, it is only short-term.
In the long term, giving in only reinforces that tantrums are an effective way for them to get what they want. By not giving in, you may have to survive through a full tantrum in the present to prevent others in the future.
A tantrum can often happen when a child has an abrupt change in their routine. If they don't see something coming, like a quicker end to playtime, it can cause a lot of stress. To help prevent a potential meltdown, give the child a gentle warning that the fun activity they're engaging in is going to end soon. A five or 10 minute warning will help prepare your kid for what's to come, hopefully preventing a tantrum.