I honestly thought she might burst. Her face turned a crimson red and a scream rang from that little body that made dogs howl in faraway towns.
Nothing her mother could do would stop this grocery store meltdown. The reason? She was denied Cocoa Puffs. She had literally gone “coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs.”
It got me thinking (once I could think again…can one develop PTSD after witnessing such a fit?), what can parents effectively do to stop a child in the middle of a tantrum, other than breaking down and buying her the world’s most tooth-decaying cereal?
I came across some basic advice dedicated to saving eardrums in the future:
- Ignore it: If you can, try walking away, making sure that your child is safe first. Stay nearby, but make sure it’s clear by your actions that her display has no effect on you. Don’t make eye contact and don’t talk to her. When she sees that she’s not getting a reaction, she’ll probably stop.
- Diffuse it: If you don’t have the stomach to be passive, there are some techniques you can try. Soothe your child by rubbing her back and talk to her in low, quiet tones. Some parents find repeating the same phrase over and over again like, “You’re OK,” or “It’s alright” or singing a quiet song or nursery rhyme seems to work. You can also try injecting a little humor into the situation by telling a silly joke or making a funny face.
The author also reminds parents to remove the child from a public situation (oh yes, please!). By doing this, you regulate the atmosphere, which can bring calmness to the situation more quickly.
Kids are also easily distracted. The next time your little loved one is in meltdown mode, show him or her one of our birthday ecards for kids. They’re loaded with fun, colorful images aimed to bring a smile to any child’s face.
Here’s a link to the advice which I found: http://preschoolers.about.com/od/behaviordiscipline/a/Tempertantrums.htm