Tantrum-Free Outings – How to Finish the Day Fight Free
We've all been that parent, carrying a crying toddler through the mall, hoping to make it to the car before throwing out our back. With less than 18 months between three of our children, my husband and I developed a system for getting all of our kids out of a public place without a single tantrum.
Like all meltdowns, our children regularly started crying and turning into a wet noodle when we were at the furthest point of a store from our car. Eventually we wised up and found a way to not only stop their crying but get them to leave happily. Once it worked for us we felt like we had struck gold.
Ready for our secret method?
Super Secret Tips for Tantrum-Free Outings
1. Catch their interest. Find something to catch your childrens' interest that is in the direction you want to head. "Look at that statue!" "Everyone march to the drinking fountain." "Who sees the orange wall?" Whatever you find that might be remotely interesting is the key to getting them moving towards the exit.
2. Let your kids lead. Let them lead you to whatever you want them to discover, offering a little guidance to keep them moving in the right direction. Giving them a sense of control is very important and will squelch their urge to ask for 20 more things along the way.
3. Redirect attention again. Once you reach whatever you have chosen, pick the next thing making an even bigger deal about where you are headed.
4. Rinse, lather, repeat. Repeat and repeat again until you get to your vehicle. If a meltdown will mostly likely happen the minute you leave wherever you've been, keep something in the car for them to "find" too, like a coloring book, read-aloud, or favorite toy. Then, as you reach the exit, announce what they will find when they get to the car or keep it a surprise to add to the fun.
We've used this technique for years and the kids still leave places relatively tantrum-free. Them seem to forget about the "leaving" part and are more excited to continue the adventure from wherever we have been to wherever we are headed.
Best wishes for a tantrum-free trip!
What is your best trick for managing your children's behavior when out and about?