Every parent’s nightmare is for their child to sit down on the floor and start crying in a way that has everyone around them covering their ears. And what would be even more embarrassing than this happening in a very public place?
So what to do? Is there a way to avoid this situation?
Please see below on how I have managed these situations throughout my career.
1) Five years ago on the way home I had a 2.5-year-old and a 7-month-old with me (it was the time when I had just started treading on this career path and was still a trainee in a way). Little one was in a baby buggy while the older child was walking next to me. Within a very short period of time, in the middle of a street with thunder clouds closing in, the 2.5-year-old decided to show his discontent after I refused to carry him home. When first his steps slowed down and he started crying, then in a millisecond he had thrown himself on the street and was screaming as if there was no end. This was my first contact with a proper tantrum.
What did I do? Everyone passing by tried to find out what was going on (to which the child started screaming even more and even louder), while casting proper angry glares towards me for letting the child cry. At that point I had no idea what to do or how, so I picked up the child, threw him over my shoulder and pushed the baby buggy with my other hand towards home.
2) On the way home from the day group with a girl who had just turned two, everything was all good until she decided she wanted to be carried. Considering she had quick feet on her own, I said no, to which the little girl started crying which obviously sounded throughout the whole block. At some point she had found a small stone she could sit on after she had stopped wriggling around like a worm.
What did I do? Compared to my previous story, I was a little smarter this time around and stayed calm. I sat down on the side of the pavement, took out a book from my bag and started reading. After 10 minutes the little girl came and sat down next to me, said she is finished and wished to go home. She gave me a big hug, I wiped her nose clean and we went home.
3) Most recent tantrum happened a couple of days ago. For almost 2 months now I am working for a family in which they have a little girl just over a year. That day she got so angry because I offered her a broccoli-pea-potato-fish puree with cheese. She refused to taste it and wanted something else from the fridge. I’m afraid I do not prepare various dishes for every single meal, and if they do not wish to eat, I do not force them to. Little girl screamed as much as she could, hands in fists.
What did I do? I sat down on the floor and explained that when she feels hungry, then food will be ready for her – to which she got even more hysterical. Then I went to the other room, sat down on the floor and closed my eyes (and thought about what kind of tiling to use in the bathroom). Little one of course followed me and kept expressing her discontent with the situation, but she must’ve been surprised to find me sitting there with my eyes closed. She then tried (without any sound) to open my eyes with her little fingers. When I opened my eyes, she started screaming again. After 25 minutes she picked up her toy bunny and came to give me a hug, after which we went to eat.
What to do during tantrums?
– Stay calm, so calm as if the cries do not exist
– Get down to the child’s level
– Make sure your tone is calm and if they get even more hysterical, then slow down your speech even more
– Do not be affected by what others may think
– Do not give in to the child, try to make them think of something else
– Overall spend as much time with the child as you can and play with them – this means give them your attention and listen to your child
– Make a joke that you know will make them laugh
– Find out the reason for this tantrum, for smaller children it can be as simple as being dehydrated and needing some water
– At the end of every tantrum make sure you hug and then both of you can happily continue with the day
– You can never yell at the child or punish them physically (shake them, tug at their hair, hit them and so on)
Q: Can you punish the child after the tantrum?
Child learns to express their emotions and express themselves, and to punish them for this would be extremely unfair.
NB! Tantrums can happen at any point of the day, you cannot grade your skills or anyone else’s parenting skills based on this.
Have a tantrum-free Tuesday,