Managing Toddler Meltdowns: Tips For Dealing with Tantrums In Public

19 July 2023

Toddler tantrums are draining enough at home, without the added pressure from strangers. We know, we have all been there… sometimes you just stand there and hope the floor will swallow you whole! Unfortunately, this will not happen, but that’s okay! With our tips and tricks to help you manage your toddler’s public meltdowns, you’ll learn to accept the tantrum and make it through – without losing your mind.

Keep Calm

The no. 1 most important thing to remember- keep calm. You’re probably thinking “easier said than done,” and we completely understand! It is incredibly difficult to remain calm, but rather than escalating the situation, keeping your cool will rub off on your toddler, causing them to also calm down. Practice breathing techniques or imagine something that makes you feel zen.

If you do not stay calm, the rest of our tips and tricks will not work, because your toddler will think they can continue to heighten their emotions if you do also. Staying calm can include using soft body language and tones, and not making any sudden movements or changing your actions from how you were prior to the tantrum.

Get A Change Of Scenery

Getting a change of scenery can help calm the situation for both you and your toddler. Firstly, it takes away your added stress of everyone watching, but also takes your toddler away from the environment that triggered the tantrum. A simple breath of fresh air could be all it takes to calm your toddler. For example, if you are sitting in a waiting room and your toddler becomes impatient or bored and starts getting upset, just go for a quick walk outside.

Don’t Worry About Other People

We know it’s difficult to not worry about what others think, however, does it really matter? If you think about it, they are usually just strangers you’ll never see again. If you sense a stranger judging you, there is a high chance they haven’t had toddlers of their own, so they simply don’t understand. Tantrums are completely normal for toddlers, so don’t feel as though your alone, because just about every parent on the planet can say they have experienced a toddler tantrum.

Make Eye Contact

Kneel down so you are at eye level with your toddler and make eye contact with them to gauge their attention. Ask them what is wrong or what is bothering them. Their emotions will be heightened, so getting a straight answer will be difficult, but if you are able to take control of the situation and have already built a strong communication system with your toddler, this should make it easier. Making eye contact with your toddler will show them you are listening and care what they have to say, which will encourage them to tell you what’s bothering them.

Stay Consistent

Right from when your little one starts communicating, you should have devised a plan of boundaries and expectations. Establishing behavioural expectations is the first step to minimising tantrums. You must then also apply and enforce these expectations. Consistency is key, and if your toddler knows what to expect, they will be less likely to act out or challenge your parenting.

For example, if your toddler says a naughty word, and your chosen consequence is that they must sit in the corner for 5 mins, you must enforce this every time they say a naughty word, otherwise they will do it more often. When they throw a tantrum, your response should be the same every time. Whether that be ignoring them and proceeding with what you’re doing or leaving the public place, if your toddler knows what to expect, they will get bored of it and they will realise there is no point.

Plan Ahead

Usually, tantrums arise from being bored or lacking attention. Minimising the chance of a tantrum is the best place to start. If you know you will be going somewhere that requires waiting or there is a chance your toddler could become bored, planning ahead is an excellent idea! Pack some of their favourite toys, bring along some colouring materials, or download their favourite game on your phone. Toddlers are easily distracted and can only focus on very few things at once, so having something to keep them busy will hopefully eliminate the chance of a tantrum. Taking a little bag with simple things mentioned above will be your savior! You can thank us later…

Use Positive Reinforcement

Sometimes a little incentive can go a long way. This relates to staying consistent- parents should reward good behaviour, as it will encourage them to maintain it. Toddlers can be clever and observant. If you miss rewarding the behaviour even once, the chance of them doing it again will greatly decrease. As they grow, you will no longer need to reinforce the positive behaviour as it will become the norm. If your toddler is helpful and demonstrates good behaviour during your grocery shop, they may get a choccy at the register.


All parents understand the stress of toddler tantrums, you’re definitely not alone or doing something wrong, we promise! Use our tips and tricks explained above to help minimise and control your toddler’s tantrums. Just remember, stay calm and everything will be just fine!

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