Six ways to stay calm through a toddler tantrum

“That baby’s just showing off!” the older man said rather loudly to his wife in the clothes store. “Either that or his mum needs to feed him.” 

The stressed new mum, who undoubtedly overheard the unhelpful comments, gave a sidewards glance to the man and continued to hastily purchase her products while trying to comfort her screaming baby. 

The wife, who must have felt the outrage from both myself and the heavily burdened mother, eventually retorted back to her husband “What would you bloody know!”. 

I smiled and held myself back from giving her a little high five. Yes! Motherhood solidarity continues through the ages. 

It gave me a moment of ‘all is right in the mother-to-mother world’ we’ve got each other's backs. One thing you perhaps never forget as a parent, even as the years pass, are those ‘give me a break’ situations. 

The times when my children have let rip in the supermarket, thrown themselves onto the floor while I’m juggling a heavy hand-basket, a change bag and praying for salvation, more often than not it’s been the mums or the older ladies who have approached me and asked if I need help. “Yes, do you want to adopt a child.” is usually my jovial response. If you don’t laugh you’ll probably cry. 

As stressful situations go, toddler tantrums or babies crying for reasons you cannot fathom when you’re out in public are probably at the top. What makes these scenarios where you want someone to magically transport you to an exotic island and put a cocktail in your hand all the more worse are the looks from people that say “For God’s sake shut your child up.” or suggest you’re doing something wrong. 

The mythical ‘terrible twos’ (which should definitely be widened to 18 months to four-years) provide a whole host of rare and random reasons for your child to go completely bonkers. Psyching yourself up to make a simple trip out of the house can become common practice. What makes these outings that little bit easier is the hope that the people around you when it all kicks-off will understand and share their sympathy rather than their judgement. 

It feels good to know that as parents we’ve all been through it. If a mother can’t remember her child ever having a tantrum it’s probably because her coping mechanisms have blocked it from her memory. 

I’d love to hear from you a memory you will never forget when someone came to your aid when you were in a nightmare situation with you darling child or children. Please leave your comments below. 

In the meantime, here are six ways to stay calm when the toddler tantrum bomb has exploded. 

Suggested by MAMA Life London followers. 

Bribery! 

Always carry treats for bribery to calm your precious child down when you can feel that they're about to start a brawl. This definitely comes in handy when doing the big food shop. 

Keep your cool

It can be hard to stay calm when your child is screaming next to you and you feel like you should be reacting in an authoritative way, but take some deep breaths and know that this tantrum is only temporary. Try and think of something else in your head to keep your own rage at bay. Let the tantrum run its course and hopefully both your anger and theirs will cool down. 

Distraction techniques 

Think of something that might get their attention, like Peppa Pig on your phone, start playing with one of their toys, or do something silly to make them laugh. 

We've all been there

Every mum has been there. It perhaps doesn't feel like much of a comfort at the time but it's true. You'll struggle to find a mum who doesn't have one single memory of when their toddler went off like a firework. And if you're being watched by younger people without children, just think to yourself "Don't worry people, you're time will come!" 

​Give a 5 to 10 minute warning

I don't know about everyone else, but if I surprise my kids by telling them we're leaving a place that they're enjoying they will kick off. So I always try to give my kids a 5 to 10 minute warning. It makes a huge difference to how they react. Say the cause of the tantrum was because you announced you're leaving the park and want them to come right that minute. Give them an extra 5 minutes and add lots of "we're leaving soon" warnings and 9 times out of 10 they leave relatively calmly in comparison. In the bigger scheme of your day, what's 5 minutes? 

Drink 

If all else fails, keep a hip flask of G&T in your change bag at all times and knock it back when the going gets tough!