Temper Tantrums

Probably the worst thing about temper tantrums for the child is how exhausting they are. Screaming, crying, fighting requires tons of energy. No wonder a sleep is often the last step in the tantrum process.

But, what is the worst part for parents, besides seeing the distress of the child? Sometimes it is the embarrassment, the what are people thinking about me as a parent. In our sane moments, when all is quiet and our child is a perfect angel, we know intellectually that we should stay calm and just remove the child or keep her safe and wait it out. But in the middle of a family gathering or the public place, where 'everyone' is watching, it really is hard not to feel the pressure to do something.

So,  make a plan when you are in that calm state. Know what you will do, and have it ready in your head as a checklist.

1. Note the trigger for future reference. Try to avoid the triggers.
2. Leave the shopping cart. Take the child to a different spot, preferably away from the item that may have caused the meltdown, and say nothing.
3. Calmly tell the child that she cannot stay there when she is behaving this way. Say it once and then stay quiet.
4. Remind yourself that the only thing people are probably saying is, "That mom is so calm. She knows how to react to a temper tantrum." Then, forget about other people.
5. Watch your child and model quiet behavior. You can hum quietly. Breathe deeply.
6. Praise your child when she starts to calm down.

If this helps your child to be calm, you can decide whether you can go back and retrieve your shopping cart, or if it is best to go home. Either way, you child knows that the behavior she displayed resulted in removal from the situation, or a return only when she is calm.

As for the groceries? They will still be there tomorrow. You can always have soup for dinner.

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