What To Do When Your Child Has A Tantrum In Public

Motherhood is such an exciting adventure and I am so thankful  to be a mama, but sometimes things get tough with toddlers.

Toddlers are such adorable little humans but at times, they can also be completely unpredictable. 

Are you at that place in your life where those terrible twos terrific twos have arrived in your precious child?

Do you contemplate about  going out because your toddler may embarrass you with their unannounced tantrum?

If so, you are not alone and have come to the right post!

One day while we were at a library story time, my son was just in one of those moods. He didn’t enjoy the story, dancing, and barely enjoyed the bubbles at the end.

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I felt the tantrum coming on as he constantly whined to have a snack bar the entire time. Thankfully, the story time ended before he had a full blown tantrum.

There has been a few times in the past he has had a tantrum in public and I didn’t know exactly what to do to stop it.

My son was ready to have a melt down at the library because he couldn’t have a snack bar.

Mainly because I wasn’t sure which route I wanted to take with correcting him. 

Nowadays, you can’t just grab your child and spank them in public unless you want to hear angry bystanders give you a mouth full on what you shouldn’t be doing.

Coming from a Mama who used to spank, I was trying to come up with a new alternative.

After dealing with a few tantrums throughout mommy-hood, I can now say I have finally mastered the way to handle it.

There are three key things that I started implementing if my child has a tantrum in public, or at home.

Watch me talk about my 3 methods below!

What To Do When Your Child Has A Tantrum In Public:

1. Keep Your Cool 

Do NOT allow your child to see you sweat. The moment you get frustrated and start yelling, is the moment you have joined the chaos.

Unfortunately, toddlers don’t know how to regulate their emotions (as I’ve learned from experience) like we do, which typically results in a tantrum. 

We have to continue to lead by example even in the midst of a toddler tantrum. Our kids react a lot of times off our emotions. So in the heat of the tantrum, our anger must stay tamed.

I know this can be easier said than done, but it is possible.

Here Are a Few Ways to Remain Calm During a Tantrum:

  • Take deep breaths – Believe it or not, this actually works really well and it has personally helped me in so many ways!
  • Smile – I know, I know, who wants to smile while your child is having a meltdown? I’m sure no one does, BUT it really helps keep you in a positive state of mind. Smiling also prevents you from frowning, which will allow your child to see how you react during a tantrum. Just try it, and see what happens. It works great for me!
  • Whisper – While you are trying to communicate to your child, speak with a soft voice or whisper. I have found that this prevents me from yelling and my kiddos are more willing to respond to me.
  • Mentally count to five – If you count to five before you start talking to your toddler, it will help you mentally prepare for what you are about to address. 

These are just a few ways that can help you remain calm during a public tantrum.


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2. Take Your Child to a Quiet Area

Whether that’s the bathroom or back to the car, just find a quiet place and get there as fast as possible. Your child will be more willing to talk to you if there isn’t other people around watching.                                                                

Believe it or not, our little humans get embarrassed just as much as we do while they’re having a tantrum. Once your child has calmed down, try to ask short questions to see if you can find out what the issue is.

If they are not as verbal yet, then you can just observe their head gestures when you ask them questions.

3. Watch Your Words

Get down to your child’s level and ask what THE problem is but DON’T ask them what THEIR problem is. Or ask your toddler, “What’s wrong?” Not, “What’s wrong with YOU?”

It may sound like the same thing but I’ve discovered, our kids tend to get offended often just from how we say things to them. If you don’t receive an answer, you can explain which emotions your child is dealing with at that time.

As I mentioned before, toddlers can not regulate their emotions and don’t understand what they are feeling until they learn about their emotions.

For example, you can say, “I know you are sad because you wanted your snack. Is that correct?” Or you could say, “I see you are angry because you didn’t want to leave the park. Is that correct?

There will be countless scenarios that may play out but the main thing to remember is to talk to your child in short sentences while explaining their emotions to them and asking questions. 

Typically if a toddler is having a tantrum, it’s because of one of the 4 reasons: They’re hungry, sleepy, want attention, or (what I’ve learned about recently), overstimulated.

These are all simple things to solve for our little humans. We just have to do it in a way that won’t escalate the tantrum. 

Many times as parents in the heat of frustration, we tend to say words that can progress the tantrum instead of stopping  it.

I know this first hand because I am guilty of that very thing, but thank God for growth right?

My little guy!

Just remember the next time your child has a tantrum, you are capable of handling the situation, and know what to do to defuse it.

How have you handled a tantrum in public? Please comment below. I’d love to hear about it!

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  1. Such good advice and helpful! We are just reaching this stage so I’ll definitely be using some of your tips. Thank you!

    1. Hey Lorena! Yes, staying calm is definitely something we have to remember as the parent. I can personally only to it with God’s help LOL.
      I’m glad this was helpful for you!

    1. Hi Melissa! Yes, exactly. Self-control is always something we have to use first so that our children will learn to use theirs.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this article!

    1. Hey Anh, hopefully he never will LOL. My son has had tantrums in public but not my daughter. All kids handle their emotions differently once they learn how. There are definitely ways to prevent tantrums in public (as I’ve learned), which I may have to write about next.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this article!

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