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What can I do about my preschooler's public tantrums?

What can I do about my preschooler's public tantrums?


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Tantrums are often a fact of life when you live with a preschooler. Your best defense is a good offense — whenever possible, try to avoid situations that could provoke a tantrum. Yes, that's easier said than done, but these tips may help:

  • A tantrum is more likely when your child is tired or hungry, so try to save your grocery shopping and trips to the post office for when she's fed and rested — and always keep a snack handy.
  • Frustration is also a big tantrum-trigger. If you know your preschooler is going to insist on visiting the pet store when you go to the mall, make sure you have time to do it, or think twice about the trip. This isn't really giving in to your child, it's just predicting how she's likely to react and thinking through the consequences and alternatives.

Of course, avoiding a tantrum isn't always possible. Once one starts, it's hard to reason with your child. If you find her public tantrum embarrassing, your best move is to leave. Becoming harsh or punitive won't help end the tantrum and will only get you more upset and angry. Remember: Your job is to remain as calm as possible. Leaving the situation helps everybody, even if it means you'll have to go back to the store later to finish your shopping. If you can't leave altogether, try to exit the immediate scene. Rather than letting her tantrum in the dentist's waiting room, for instance, at least go out into the hall or parking lot.

Once the tantrum subsides, your preschooler may need hugs and reassurance, since being that out of control can be scary for her. Hugs are fine, but don't change the rules after a tantrum. If you told her that it was time to leave the playground and she responded with a tantrum, it's still time to go when the tantrum is over. But once you know how strongly she feels, you can acknowledge those feelings and try to make leaving less painful by offering to read a favorite story when you get home.

Keep in mind that your child's tantrum is nobody's business but yours. Many kids this age still have tantrums, and some of them are bound to happen in public. It doesn't mean you're a bad parent, only that you're the parent of a preschooler. People may be looking at you, but it's very possible that they're feeling sympathetic, not critical. Regardless of any looks you get, remember that your child doesn't understand your embarrassment. Public tantrums aren't meant to humiliate you, so treat your child the same as you would if the tantrum happened at home.

It may also help to know that the frequency of tantrums will start to wane as your child matures a bit. You may simply want to stick close to home — or be prepared to make a quick exit — until that happens.


Watch the video: What To Do When Your Child Throws A Temper Tantrum (September 2022).


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