How Not to Handle a Toddler Tantrum While in Public

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If you have a toddler and you go out in public like ever then you have dealt with a tantrum while in public. Toddler tantrums are nothing to joke about even when you are at home but add in staring people and trying not to be rude and you have a stressful situation.

I was rather blessed with my oldest and by 2 she had only really had one public meltdown. Man did I think I had my shit together…. and then in comes my second child and she showed me that in deed do not have my shit together.

Isn’t that how they say it goes? Your first makes you think you are a great parent and have it all figured out and then in comes the next one and they put your ego in check.

How Not to Handle a Toddler Tantrum While in Public

It is so much harder to deal with a toddler tantrum when you are in public than it is when you are at home. At home you can leave  your kid in a safe place and walk away if you need to take a breather to remain calm. Not to mention it is so much easier to find something to distract them with.

Our first public toddler tantrum

My first had one good toddler tantrum in public and that was at Jc Penny. She just wanted to keep walking around and not stand in line. I was pregnant and trying to wrangle an angry 16 month old. Needless to say I stayed calm with her and in about a minute everyone in line was telling me to go ahead of them.

I didn’t want to go ahead of them to be honest. I was determined to make it on my own, but they were rather insistent and I just went ahead and checked out and left. By the time we walked out of the store she was over it! But I was a bit defeated by the whole situation.

Dealing with a toddler having a tantrum in public can be a challenge. Trying not to be embarrassed or frustrated is key. You stay a calm parent to help your child calm down. Parenting tips to follow!

What not to during a toddler tantrum

I know we would all just love to run and hide when our child starts to have an amazing tantrum while you are in the middle of the store of heaven forbid right in the middle of a meal. But that is not going to fix anything or teach them how to be in public with out all the stress.

Don’t just leave when your toddler has a tantrum

Please don’t just leave your cart or pack up your food at the first sign of tantrum! This is not going to help it will only:

  • cause you and your child more stress
  • draw more attention to you
  • frustrate you that you are having to stop what you are doing
  • teaches your child nothing

Leaving can cause so many more issues then what you already have on hand. It might feel like the easy way out but it really isn’t. Think of this as a time to teach and to learn what has set off your child.

Don’t get frustrated

This is another time that you as the parent need to remain calm. And can I be honest that is hard to do at times! I like to pride myself in my ability to let a tantrum run off my back but sometimes I just want to throw my own tantrum.

Can you imagine that?

The kid and the mom screaming, crying, kicking, possibly rolling on the floor. Everyone would be wondering what was my problem. Not the kid but the mom. Why? Because only an idiot would expect a kid to be behaved all the time, but an adult should know how to hold it together.

But man thinking about that kinda sounds like it would be a nice mental cleanse! HAHA

Okay, seriously though you need to stay calm. Do what ever you need to do to stay calm.

  • deep breath
  • close your eyes and focus on breathing
  • count to 10
  • think about what your child does that makes you smile
  • smell them ( your nose is a magical tool)

And remember if you don’t stay calm your child is not going to calm down.

mom advice on how to deal with a toddler tantrum in public. parenting is so hard sometimes and we all need some help

What not to do when someones else’s child is having a tantrum

Man I can say I am sure I stared and silently judged a parent with a kid who having a tantrum while in public. Of course this was before I had my own children and was just ignorant. I can admit that.

I can not count how many times I heard people talking about a parent struggling with their child. And often these were women who had kids of their own or teens who think anything that disrupts their life is just awful.

This doesn’t help. And I think if you are not willing to jump in a help or see if she needs help then just move on.

I can’t believe what this lady did behind me in checkout

So as I said before my first was such a good kid, but number 2 had been on a mission to prove that I am not the amazing parent I thought I was. So we are in the checkout and she is tired and losing it. She wants me to hold her but I am well aware that it won’t help as I have been in this situation before.

So instead I am trying to distract her with a game of peek-a-boo or as we say “where’d she go” and she loves it. In a matter of a few minutes she is in to playing and doing pretty good. When all of the sudden the lady behind me hands Delta her phone……


She had a video on it and said “it’s okay I have grandchildren I know how this goes”…..

I was in shock and had no idea how to react. Of course Delta was like oh cool mom doesn’t do this, and then the 3 year old is like wait I want to see….

And I’m still like what just happened. I had this under control. We don’t just give the a phone so they shut up.

They learn nothing from that! Except oh hey I through this fit and mom gives me the phone with a video on it.

I want my children to learn better ways to cope…. and I don’t judge parents who do that it is your own way, but it is not my way.

Of course in about a minute Delta had touched the screen and it was off the video and the fight started all over again. I just gave the lady back her phone and prayed the check out lady sped up.

What I wish she would have done

Well lets be honest anything other than what she did. I am the mom and just because you are a grandma doesn’t mean your way will work better than mine. I know my own child and I know what will help.

But for when you are bound to come in to contact which a parenting dealing with a toddler tantrum here is a list of things you can do. Other than give the kid your phone:

  • walk away
  • stare ( I mean it isn’t nice but better than the phone)
  • tell the parent they are not alone
  • tell the parent they are doing AMAZING
  • ask if they need anything
  • make silly faces
  • play peek-a-boo
  • help put their groceries up
  • offer to push their cart
  • take their cart from the car so they can leave faster

Just do anything but give the kid your damn phone! Like seriously the amount of tears that I had to deal with after the phone was taken away was ridiculous.

In case you can’t tell I’m rather bitter about the phone.

Has any one done anything while your child was having a tantrum in public that you thought was ridiculous?

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  1. I remember when my eldest had a major meltdown in the supermarket. She started pretty much as soon as we entered the store, but I kept her strapped in the shopping trolly and ignored her screams while I completed the weekly shop. I got so many looks from strangers, and a couple of people even asked if I could “shut her up.” After the first few minutes I couldn’t care less how much unwanted attention we were attracting, and just carried on about my day 🙂

    1. becomingschultz says:

      People can be so rude! Little kids can’t be expected to be perfect and they will lose it from time to time.

  2. Take no notice of negative comments or disapproving looks.

  3. Ah the dreaded supermarket tantrum. We have them regularly – like full on, lie on the floor screaming ones. When that happened once, I had a woman suggest to me that I get down there with him as he’d soon stop. I almost wish I’d had the nerve! ha ha. #ItsOK

    1. becomingschultz says:

      Some times I wonder if it would work or if we would both look like fools.

  4. All the of mine have been absolute shockers when it came to tantrums… Probably why I rely almost entirely on online grocery shopping these days! Great tips. Thanks for linking up with #ItsOK xxx

    1. becomingschultz says:

      I really need to try the pick up shopping!

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