5 Ways to Tame Toddler Tantrums

What’s worse than speeding through the grocery store with a testy toddler, then getting to the register and realizing you don’t have your wallet?

Having to speed through the grocery store TWICE with a testy toddler, then having her melt down just as you’re ready to check out.

Public tantrums are the bane of every parent’s existence. The eye rolls and frowns from passers-by can make you feel inadequate, but handling tantrums is just part of motherhood.

You could let your kid’s outburst sent you into a panic, but I’d suggest you try my five tantrum-taming tips instead.

Keep your cool. Having your child melt down RIGHT as you get to the register can be embarrassing, but you have to remember that you’re the adult. If you lose it, there’s no one to bring the two of you back from the brink.

Calm breeds calm. If you keep your cool, your child might take a cue from you and chill out.

Create a diversion. Laughter is said to be the best medicine. I’ve found that it’s also a great way to head off a tantrum.

Whenever Baby Bird starts to get unruly during an outing, I break into the chorus of Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer.” (You can skip right to the 51-second mark to hear the chorus and sing along using my lyrics.)

“You’re my tiny dancer/
Dancer for milky/
Please do what I want you to do.

You’re my tiny dancer/
Dancer for milky/
Either of my boobies will do!”

It’s guaranteed to stop her screams and get her grinning. Feel free to use it if it struck a chord with you.

Not a fan of Ms. Turner? Toys, milk, a book or snacks work as distractions, too.

Figure out the problem. Teaching your child how to sign a few key words — food, milk, tired — can help you determine how to settle her down. It’ll take some time, but it’ll absolutely be worth the effort.

If Little One is older but still lacking the words to express her frustration, saying to her, “Show me what you want,” can go a long way.

Run away. No, not literally. Walk away … maybe quickly, depending on the level of the tantrum.

Before the situation reaches DEFCON 1, take Little One outside or to a different part of the store to calm down. Changing the scenery might help snap her out of the funk.

Be smart. Don’t drag your girl on a three-hour shopping spree at Kohl’s and expect her not to lose her mind. Don’t take her to a restaurant that’ll make you wait more than an hour for your drinks.

Bottom line: Don’t set yourself — or your child — up for failure. If she’s been testy all day and the outing can be delayed, delay it. If you have to go out, distract, deflect, and get your business done quickly.

Take it in stride. I know I said five, but this doesn’t really count as a tip. It’s more pep-talky than anything else.

There will always be sanctimommies around who think their kid’s poop doesn’t stink. But for every one of them, there’s hundreds of us who are working hard to keep it together.

Sometimes we fail. Sometimes our kids make us look crazy and incompetent. But you’re not a bad mom, and you’re not raising an out-of-control monster.

If your Target run goes south, plaster a grin on your face, keep your head up, and push through like you do with every other messy mommyhood situation.

You’ve got this.

And if all else fails, abandon the cart and speed walk back to the car.

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5 Easy and Practical Tips to Stop Your Toddler's Public Temper Tantrum
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