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How do you deal with temper tantrums in public?

My daughter is 21 months old and she frequently has temper tantrums. At home I can deal with it. I just let her scream and throw a fit until she wears herself out. She usually stops after a few minutes. But in public most of the time I can't just ignore her. When we're out in public she gets so excited, wants to run around and get into stuff, and do stuff that I often can't allow her to do. At restaurants she refuses to sit still for too long and starts to wiggle and whine and eventually throw a fit. In the grocery store she gets anxious in the basket. When we're out shopping she wants to run in the opposite direction and gets very upset when I won't let her. If we're in an environment where I can let her run around and do what she wants then I let her, but most of the time I can't. I try to redirect her attention as soon as I see a tantrum boiling up, but she goes from 0 to 60 in no time flat. I need some mommy advice!

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Asked by Crystal2509 at 7:06 AM on Jun. 10, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (8)
  • Hello Crystal,

    My son who is 4 is the same way. When my husband is with us its a lot easier because I will just have him take him away from whatever it is we are doing. If its just me I have to stop what I'm doing and take him to the car and make him sit for a few mins until he can calm down. I usually have him bring a quarter and explain to him that he is going to act a certain way and if he can't he will not be using his quarter. I'm not sure if you could do that with a 21 month old. I just suggest taking her away from the scene, its going to take a lot of work but a few times of it will teach her she isn't going to act that way. Good Luck I hope you find something that works I know its hard to get much done when you got a little one have temper tantrums.

    Zara Nichols
    Helping Moms Work From Home

    Answer by ZaraN at 7:19 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • Well wht I would do is a get a sitter when you need to do groceries, stay away from resturants till the child can behave!! Tht is wht I did for abit and it worked out fine when I returned to bringing my child back out in public... Good luck!

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:24 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • i put my DD's little butt right in the car. For example: in walmart the other day she wanted to walk and i said NO because she was grabbing everything and opening anything she could get her hands on. I gave her 3 chances and when she didnt comply i picked her up and said "kennadi that is enough. i told you 3 times not to open the stuff thats not for you." well thats when the fit began. I took her out to the parking lot started the car, put the AC on and windows halfdown (so it wasnt too hot for her). Strapped her into her car seat and stood outside the car. She started wailing and freaking out immediately cause she wanted back in walmart. I simply looked into her eyes and told her when shes done crying and wants to be a big girl in the store we can go back inside. within a minute she stopped and was perfect in walmart!!

    Answer by Kennadismom at 8:39 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • sorry she'll be 2 on the 21st by the way

    Answer by Kennadismom at 8:40 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • My actions are the same whether I am at home or not. She doesn't dictate what I do. I am the mom and she will do what I say. If she throws a fit in the store, she gets a timeout right there. I would rather have someone see me as a mom who doesn't bend than a mom who allows their child to make them leave a store. Now if it's a restarant, if I can't get her calm in a couple minutes, I will take her to the car but we will come back inside to finish the meal.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 9:11 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • Have you tried coming up with activities to distract her while you are out? My kids have a small backpack of stuff that is kept in the car for restaurants only. In the grocery store, they have their own shopping list of stuff they need to find or if I am with my husband, they go on a scavenger hunt for items on the list. My kids are usually that way when they get bored, and I have found they do much better if I can give them something to do so they don't get bored.

    Answer by mupt02 at 10:02 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • For us...the only two things we do in public these days is go shopping or go out to eat,lol. And dh is there for both,lol. SO having the extra set of hands really helps. At the stores...our 15 month old wants to get out of the cart and walk all the time lately.I blame her dad for this because anytime she would wimper or anything in a cart he would take her out right away. I warned at the time that he was going to create a monster with that but he didn't listen,lol. So we end up taking turns holding her hand to let her walk, when she starts to try to run off,she goes back in the cart or one of us carries her.At restaraunts, our time there is minimal these days..long gone are the relaxing long conversations over dinner,lol.I bring a bag of stuff for her to do and when it gets too much, we know its time to go.Hang in there.My oldest is 10 and somehow I survived that one!lol It gets better as they get older.good luck!! :)

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 10:26 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

  • Sounds a lot like my son. You might want to consider whether the problem is that she's getting overwhelmed by all the input she's getting from around her. If you were to put her down, would she race around without direction (vs exploring specific things)? I found with my son that letting him burn off some energy outside or at a park before we had to go to a store, helped. You might also try a calming activity like getting her to sing with your or having a crunchy snack. If she truly gets "anxious" while in a basket, you might want to read a book called "The Out of Sync Child" that talked about sensory disorders. Kids like this get overwhelmed by the world at times and the "fight or flight" instinct kicks in. It suggests ways to help manage these type situations.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:39 AM on Jun. 10, 2010

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