Written By: Samantha Gencarello Schwartz
So you're at the grocery store and your toddler decides they want to get out of the cart and push it themselves. You say no, because that's obviously not logistically possible and you want to get your shopping done before the year 2020, and they begin to melt down. Or, if you're like my daughter, you decide you hate your toothbrush choices and demand a new one every day as if you live in a toothbrush factory. When she doesn’t get a new toothbrush, she throws herself on the floor and screams like she’s on fire. You moms out there probably have countless examples of toddler tantrums for the silliest reasons. When you're going through one, especially in public, you think it will never end. You don't know how to proceed. Well, I've got you covered.
- Assess the situation and see if you can remedy it with an easy fix. Can you give them what they want to stop the screaming? I give you permission to just GIVE IT TO THEM. (Unless it's a knife or a flame thrower. Please don't give them that). Sometimes I'm insistent on saying no to Charlotte over simple things such as playing with the leftover water droplets on the dishwasher door. Sometimes it is easier to give into this madness than to listen to her scream for 127 hours. Have you guys seen that movie? Spoiler alert: sometimes I think it would be easier to cut my arm off than deal with her tantrums.
- Are you at home or are you in public? If you're at home, walk into another room, go inside a closet, close the closet door and pretend you're in Aruba until they're a teenager. Are you in public? Find the nicest looking stranger and hand your kid over to them and book a flight to Aruba. Problem solved!
- Are you unsure of the reason for their tantrum? Many times I have no idea why Charlotte is screaming like a banshee because 1) she doesn't speak full sentences yet and 2) toddlers make no damn sense. If this is happening to you, go pour yourself a drink and wait for it to pass. There is no reasoning with these kinds of tantrums. I find a nice crisp Pinot Grigio works well in these situations.
- Are they freaking out because you asked them to do something helpful, such as cleaning up their toys they've thrown all over your once pristine home? Try to sing the clean-up song, you know the one that goes CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE! At the top of your lungs for a half hour straight. I promise they will become so bewildered that they'll stop crying. They still won't pick up their toys though, so there's that.
- Is the tantrum bedtime related? Good luck sister. I've really got no answers for this one except alcohol for you and maybe a dose of Benadryl for your baby. I'm kidding. Maybe.
- Charlotte freaked the hell out the other day because I wouldn't let her play with the stove, making me the worst mother in America, clearly. In situations like this, I found that yelling at the child in a made up language will get them confused enough to forget they wanted to burn the house down. The language from the video game The Sims seemed to do the trick.
- Public meltdowns are always the worst because everyone stares at you like you’re on display, so if you’re at the mall or the grocery store and the screaming and thrashing begins, take out your phone and film them. Pretend you are a documentary filmmaker trying to film life with beasts in the wild. Shout some directions out. “Yes honey yes! You’re a star! Scream a little louder! Oscars HERE WE COME!” Everyone around you will be too confused to judge, I promise.
- I read somewhere that creating a diversion mid-tantrum can do the trick. So just go ahead and start throwing random objects at your screaming toddler. I really like this trick if you’re out shopping. Crying down the cereal aisle? Just start launching boxes of Frosted Flakes at them. Try and dodge those while screaming, kid.
- I’ve also been told that laughing off your child’s tantrum will assist in stopping the madness. The second they start screaming, you should start cackling like a wild hyena. Seriously, laugh right in their little screaming faces, because if you don’t laugh, you will cry.
- And lastly, remember that there really are no ways to stop a kid’s tantrum. You just have to weather the storm. Every child is going to have them and it is absolutely not a reflection of bad parenting on your part. So when you see a mom out there who has a kid that’s melting down, give her a special sign to know that you’ve been there and you understand and there are no judgments coming from you.