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When your child is having a meltdown in public, the last thing you want to do is to lose yourself and join in the frustration.
Kids between age 1 to 4 haven’t developed the emotional skills to cope with their feelings yet. They get frustrated when you don’t respond to how they’re feeling and throw a fit instead.
The one thing to always remember when your toddler loses it, is that his behaviour is not a reflection of your parenting. In the mind of a toddler, a tantrum is one of the only ways he knows how to express his anger or frustration.
Here are some suggestions for dealing with those meltdowns:
Take steps to prevent the tantrums
Note what makes your toddler tick. When he is hungry or sleepy, a tantrum is inevitable. So plan accordingly – have a snack ready to deal with the hunger or make sleep a priority when its closer to naptime.
You can also encourage healthy ways to handle frustrations by taking deep breaths. It helps if you acknowledge how you’re feeling and accept that you’ve made a mistake by flaring up. Apologise to your child. They need to see and hear that it’s okay to make mistakes sometimes.
Don’t try to calm him down
Ignore him unless he is trying to hurt himself or when he is in danger. By avoiding him and not giving him the attention he wants from you, you’re not reinforcing his bad temper. Walk away, or out of the room for a few minutes. If he starts hitting, hitting or throwing things, stop him immediately and remove him from the situation. Put him on timeout if necessary – but use this punishment wisely. The more you use them, the less effective they become.
Don’t join in the shout-fest
If your child yells, stay calm and talk softly. He will end up matching your volume because, he wants to engage with you. If he loses it in public, take him outside. Try offering a few options like ‘do you want to sit and talk or stand at the quiet corner to talk?’. Sometimes, giving options can help, especially if a lack of control is the reason for the tantrum in the first place.
Thankfully, toddlers have a short attention span and are easily distracted. Learn what things will switch your little one’s focus and you may be able to quickly defuse the tantrum. And it always helps if you sound really enthusiastic about it. It gets their mind off the meltdown and on to the next thing much faster.
Give him a big hug
Hugs make kids feel secure and let them know that you still care about them, even if you don’t agree with their behaviour. So give him a firm hug! Use a soothing voice and reassure him that even though he’s lost control, you are there to help him through it.
Recommended read: IS MY CHILD HAVING A COLD OR AN ALLERGY?
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