How to Diffuse a Tantrum in 10 Seconds Flat

LOL 46


It’s a hard place to be -- in public and with a toddler who is having a complete meltdown. You want to hide. You want it to stop but nothing works. Soothing is conditional at best. No one wants to be the monster caught on videotape screaming at their willful child to “Shut the f*ck Up!”

Well, now you don't have to be. Here are a few ways to stop those nasty tantrums dead in their tracks.

Copy The Tantrum: Lie on the floor next to your thrashing child and mimic their behavior. If that means stomping your feet, screaming until you are red-faced or actng like a complete loon, do it. This behavior shocks them and, if you're in public, it will embarrass them as well.

More from The Stir: Your Toddler's Temper Tantrum Can Be Decoded

Ignore It: Tell your child that you can’t hear him when he is being whiny. It may even help if you speak to him in a Donald Duck voice. The voice will throw him off balance and then you can swoop in for a little distraction.

Distract (Bait & Switch): Begin singing, Baby got back as loudly as possible while shaking your butt. If your kid does not immediately start laughing, sing louder. She will stop what she's doing and start laughing. Tantrum over.

Stay Calm: I won’t lie, I am NOT the Mom who gets down on my knees with an unlimited supply of patience and understanding. I am not. But if you can just count to 10 before you react, you may be surprised how much that few seconds can help your child realize that you aren't going to respond to irrational behavior. Plus, if you stand completely still and silent or lie on the couch with your eyes closed, she will be more concerned with your well being. Tantrum averted.

Walk Away: If your child starts to throw a tantrum in a public place, tell them you are leaving. I don’t care if you're there to pick up that kid's birthday cake on the way to the party ... walk away. He needs to know that you mean business. You've got to follow through so that he knows that you are not going to let this behavior go unpunished. I won't lie. Once I waited in line for a ride for an hour and at the point of entry, my child decided to talk back. We left the line. I was punished too but sometimes, you have to take one for the team.

More from The Stir: Dog's Trick Magically Stops Toddler's Tantrum (VIDEO)

Talk it to death: That’s right. Talk about every single emotion that little guy is having and then talk about it again. Your kid will get so bored hearing about his own tantrum and all of your empathy that he will stop the tantrum and walk away from you, out of sheer boredom.

Shock & Awe: If all else fails, sometimes insanity needs to be met with equal insanity. I call this the "shock and awe" tactic. Your child has thrown herself on the floor because you asked her to pick up a toy. Or you are on the phone and junior decides to throw himself on the floor and scream bloody murder. With every plea, he gets louder. Promptly take your faucet hose sprayer and spray junior in the face. Shock! And when hegets startled and starts to cry, "Why did you do that?" Spray him again. Awe! Tantrum diffused.

How do you diffuse a toddler tantrum?

Image Via Bethany King/ Flickr

discipline, tantrums


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Lisa Del Fante

My grandma used to take s glass of ice cold water and throw it in my brother's face when he had a tantrum. Worked like a charm every time.

vanes... vanessa5470

Hahahaha. Awesome. I've actually copied his annnnoying whining (purposely whining for no good reason) and he literally stops. I know he realizes how dumb I look and sound, and he gives me a goofy grin.

Hmm, in public he's been pretty good, no majooor meltdowns. Distraction works best for this toddler

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

OOmg some of these r freaking hilarious! Luckily we do not have alot of toddler tantrums.... ours didn't start till my oldest was nearly 5.... and they r loud and dramatic and she has to have it in her room. I. Will. Not. Listen. To. It.

Melis... Melissa042807

The best thing that diffuses our toddler's tantrums at home is ignoring it. We just don't respond to that kind of behavior (the exception being when he's cranky due to illness, like tonight - oy!). We just tell him we're not interested in talking until he can use his words, toss his Blanky in his direction, and walk away. 

Out in public, a stern warning usually averts tantrums. That was something we had to get him used to at home, of course - following through when we said we were going to do something. That took time. But by now, 9 times out of 10, when he starts acting up in public we give him a stern talking-to in a low voice and that ends the problem. If a tantrum does start, we remove him to a quieter place, get past the tantrum, and then have the talk. Then we can return to what we were doing - shopping, eating at a restaurant, etc. 

criss... crissydancer05

I usually mimick him at home, which works 99% of the time. He usually laughs at me for acting so silly. In public still needs some work. Sometimes a stern talking to works, but he still likes to be loud and brodcast very loudly his issue. Leaving quickly doesnt work because there is also a baby, we dont move quickly.

Dalla... DallasGirl214

"copy the tantrum." hahahaha!

starl... starlight1968

I would calmly take her to her room and shut the door,with her in it and me off doing whatever I needed to do.  With the door shut she would get quite pretty quick and learn that I didn't want to hear it or see it and it was unacceptable.  She never had a melt down in public, she knew better I guess as we didn't get out often anyway.

the4m... the4mutts

Starlight, that is the only tantrum tactic that I have not tried. Th rest worked for my older 3 kids, no prob. They dropped the tantrum phase FAST.

But my 2 yr old... he's the baby of the family, and he's well aware of it.

I'm totaly goin to have to try this one!

Heather Harrison

I'm pretty sure we are going to be having lots of discussions like this one after the incident on Jet Blue.  I must admit this is the first time I have heard the spraying him with water trick. Kinda like a cat:)

"The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself."

Rebecca Peterson

We have designated areas for tantrum throwing. At our old house we made her sit on the stairs until it was over and she was ready to say "sorry for throwing a fit" and at our new house we make her go to her room until she's ready to say sorry.  Her dad and I don't put up with fits too well, and she's learned from her friend how to throw the good ones (oh joy). But I've flicked her mouth; put her in her room; asked her why she's throwing a fit; among many many different things. But the removal of her presense usually works the best since she's a social bee.


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