Public Displays of Disaster: What to do when your child has a meltdown in public

Let’s imagine—you’re at the grocery store. As you enter the checkout line, your child asks for something. When you calmly respond, “No, not right now,” a tantrum ensues. Surely you’re familiar with the tantrum—body on the ground, tears, (loud) words. Public tantrums are stressful for both the child and caregiver. It can be near impossible to reason with or communicate to your child when they’re in this stressed state-of-mind. It can be equally difficult for you to remain calm, particularly when you have an audience.

In this article, experts encourage parents to practice patience, respond positively to potential criticism (received by onlookers), validate your child’s feelings, provide choices you can implement in the moment, and more!