What's the one thing worse than a toddler tantrum... a toddler tantrum in public!
Parents are all too familiar with the ‘terrible twos’ and ‘threenage’ years. Sometimes just the smallest thing sparks a bout of hysteria, from giving them the wrong kids plate, to cutting their banana the wrong way.
Unpredictable, irrational and plentiful, the toddler and preschool years bring much joy and equal amounts of chaos too!
How to keep calm when your toddler has a public meltdown?
Dining out has its moments with a toddler. But there are some tried and tested ways of dealing with tantrums in public…
- Give them a little bit of attention – this is the tricky bit, because you don’t want to fuel naughty behaviour, but other times their behaviour is a cry for attention. Let your child know that you understand they are upset and want to make it better.
- Have a little chat – before bad behaviour even starts, have a word with your child before going out. Tell them they are lucky to be taken to exciting places and might even get a special treat (dessert) if they behave
- Be prepared – that’s right, fill your bag with toys, pencils, frankly whatever it takes! Munchy Play plates were borne out of one Mum’s challenges at mealtimes with a kid, and they serve to be a great way to keep kids entertained in restaurants, so be sure to take yours with you!
- Keep calm and carry on – needless to say, keeping calm will help prevent you (and them) getting worked up, as well as avoid more unwanted attention
- Pick your place – opt for family friendly restaurants and family feeding times to soften the blow of disruptive little ones. If they are picky eaters then perhaps let them have some food from your plate too.
- Try to understand – what is your child trying to tell you? Pre-schoolers still have lots of frustration that they aren’t able to get their message across at times, plus they are still learning to handle their emotions, so give them some slack
- Create a diversion – the time trusted ‘switcheroo’ that works a treat. Find a way to distract them, perhaps it’s some art on the wall, a bus going by, or a drink they can pour, heck it might even be an ice-cream machine, but find that distraction and change the subject quickly! You can even think of fun types of imaginative play, like ‘I'm the baby, and you’re the chef’ to keep them occupied.
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