How To Tame Public Toddler Temper Tantrums

Posted by on Apr 6, 2014 | 18 comments

Toddler Tips - How To Tame Public Toddler Temper Tantrums

There’s no way to get around this one, as 9 out 10 toddlers will throw a mild to severe tantrum in public at least once. However, what moms and dads may not realize is this. How you choose to deal with it determines if they happen again, how often they occur, and how serious the next one may be.

Baby’s Own Room is featuring parenting tips this week. We love being able to share real tips by real moms! Courtney, mother of a toddler boy, shared the following experience on how to tame public toddler temper tantrums with our readers.  

“My son is almost 2 years old and is quite clever. I’m sure that most parents can decipher whether or not their tike is pushing buttons, or truly having a meltdown. Either way, there are different tips that my husband and I use for dealing with these public temper tantrums.”

Here are our Top Three:

The “Look” – Now, while this may only work on the “older” toddler, most children know and recognize the “Look.” If you even sense that your child is on their way to a tantrum or misbehavior, the “Look” should stop them dead in their tracks or at least slow the behavior down.

❥❥Attention Diversion – Sometimes, small children tend to get frustrated easily. It’s up to us as parents to diffuse that energy and divert their attention elsewhere. Introduce a book if at the restaurant table, encourage them to answer a question that they identify with as being comforting to them. These efforts almost always yield a positive result, and the toddler often forgets why they were on their way to a tantrum in the first place.

❥❥❥Stern, Calm Discipline – I would reserve this for the ultimate tantrum. Sometimes even toddlers need to be reinforced with clear discipline. It is important to be consistent in this area, and to always follow through. A firm touch of the toddler’s hand, or a stern voice to get their attention– can go a long way. If this is something that you can exercise a few times, it has proven to limit my son’s tantrums so that I can pay more attention to the “Look” and “Attention Diversion” techniques.

All in all, I’m sure that most parents would agree that there is no right or wrong way to reign in a misbehaving child. At the end of the day, it depends on what works for your family. It’s important to spend time with your toddler, find out what makes them uncomfortable, and work on teaching them patience in those areas. I believe that a strong combination of the 3 tips above offer a great balance between love, care, and reinforcement – all vital things that children can benefit from in the long run. Tantrum free toddler = happy mom!

Toddler Tips by Courtney Blogger Mom Small Business Owner

We thank Courtney of Born Unique Baby Guide for sharing. We’d love to hear from you about how you handle public temper tantrums. What works for you and your family? Thanks from your friends at Baby’s Own Room!


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  1. When my oldest grandson was a toddler and would go grocery shopping with us, he would pick out one thing from the grocery cart and decide to hold it. When it came time to pay, he would not let go of it so the clerk could scan the item. Then the tantrum would start and it would be quite a scene. We used the diversion tactic on him. Once he decided what he wanted to hold we would quietly pick up a duplicate, have the clerk scan and keep that one, while he continued to hold is treasure. Worked like a charm. As he grew older and we would tell him of this (he is 20) he was surprised. Kids do the most interesting things sometimes.

    • Hi Karen, that’s an adorable story. It tickles me that at 20 he was surprised. It’s so funny learning the type of child we were, when we eventually have our own kids. Great use of the diversion tactic. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and Happy Blogging…

  2. These are great tips, especially the “look!” I would babysit my 2 nieces who were 4 and 5…spoiled and wanted everything in the store. I’d give them the “look” or just gently take them by the hand and walk out of the store. They got nothing and remembered that the next time we went out. 😉
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted…Organo Gold Nutraceuticals Infused With GanodermaMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Alexandra! I’m telling you, I still get shivers from the “look” by Granny, Mom, and any of my aunties in the store, lol. Nice seeing you and happy blogging. 🙂

  3. The LOOK was 98% effective when my 3 kids were growing up. If they saw this, they re-adjusted their attitude pretty quickly! They had learned early on that what Mom told them was going to happen – DID. So they believed it! Tee-hee… It only took one trip to MacDonald`s where Mom & Dad had a nice lunch while they had to wait till they got home to eat their peanut butter sandwich because they had misbehaved. Of course, Mom & Dad did not enjoy their lunch but the message was delivered!! Tee-hee…
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  4. Thanks for the great tips! They will definitely come in handy one day!

  5. Thank you for brining light to a real situation. I offer compassion for the parents while this happens in front of me as on lookers quite often have a lot to say.

  6. I imagine this is a tough situation to be in but these are some great tips! Thanks for sharing!!

  7. These are such great hints and helps. There is little that is more difficult for a parent than a toddler having a SBA (Spoiled Brat Attack!).

  8. This can be very embarrassing for parents and they often act out of that negative emotion. Thanks for the great tips to handling that
    Veronica recently posted…One Room Challenge: Studio Dining Room – Week 2My Profile

  9. Great tips, Rhonda. It can definitely be embarrassing for parents when their toddlers act out in public. The “look” can be very effective. Thank you for sharing your experience and again, the tips.

  10. Loved your article, it was full of great advice for the tantrum pulling toddler! I wish I had this article when I was raising my children, I used trial and error. Thanks for the useful tips!

  11. Thank you for this post. I love that you encourage parents to handle the tantrum through engaging with the child. I must admit it is frustrating for me to be somewhere (especially in a restaurant enjoying a meal) and there is a child throwing a tantrum and the parent does nothing. Your approach allows the parent to display responsibility and the child to learn. That is awesome! (And I love the pic!!)
    A. Lynn Jesus recently posted…The Flow – Friend or Foe?My Profile

  12. Great information. In all the 6 years raising my son, I can count the number of temper tantrums I had to deal with. My son is pretty welled behaved. He has his moments but simply talking to him and distracting him usually works very well. When he has a tantrum when his dad takes him out I get a video of it lol It’s funny to watch his dad talk him out of being upset!
    Marielle Altenor recently posted…Spring is in the Air: Scentsy Goodies!My Profile

  13. Thanks ladies! We all have so much combined knowledge that only comes with EXPERIENCE! I appreciate all of your kind words and wish you and your families nothing but temper tantrum free toddlers!lol

  14. I’m a grandma so have had some experience with this although not a lot. I tend to agree with your tips. The one I see parents fall apart with is the stern, calm, discipline. The sooner a toddler learns that a tantrum is not going to be tolerated, the better. Another tip is to ignore the tantrum but of course, that depends on the circumstances of where you are at the time. You’re doing a great job as a Mom and as a Blogger!
    Pat Moon recently posted…Do You Want A Toxic Brain?My Profile

  15. When we were kids, no one raised their voices at our home. But when my father ‘lowered’ his voice we knew we were in trouble. So I would guess that a child will pick up any signal, as long as the signal is followed consistently by a certain behavior. Otherwise the child gets confused, and picks up no signals at all. (I think I had THAT child behind me on the airplane recently. Considering how inconsistent the parents were, even I was confused, much less an 18-month old child! That is, the one kicking my seat and screaming …)

  16. “the look” works well on adults also. I was a chef in the kitchen for years and my crew knew when I gave them the look!

    Great post and thank you so much for sharing. I can’t wait to have kids and start implementing! 🙂
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