Every parent has experienced their child having an outburst in public. It can be embarrassing. Don’t stress. We have all been there. These tips can help you tame the tantrum. 


If your child is old enough to understand reward, this is a lifesaver. A reward should be offered BEFORE the tantrum occurs. Rewarding a child during a tantrum is only going to encourage them to have an outburst again. Before walking into a store or movie, set expectations. Let them know if they behave well there will be a reward. Their reward could be going to a park, playing a game with you, or reading them an extra story. This is a good time to positively reinforce good behavior.

Keep calm

If you are in a crowded area full of people, this tip can be challenging, but it is important to end the outburst quickly. If you are upset, your child will feel that and will amplify their already heightened emotions. Take a deep breathe and remember that a tantrum doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent, it just means that you ARE a parent. 


Sometimes your child just needs to be redirected to something else. Find something in your surroundings and point it out to your child. If you can get your child to focus on a picture on the wall or the music that is playing, this will help lessen the feelings they are having. If you can’t quickly find something for them to focus on, tell them a joke , or just be a little silly yourself. Telling them a short joke or reminding them of a funny experience, can instantly end the tantrum. By making them laugh you have interrupted the reason they are acting out. 

Listen to your child

Your child is giving you either a verbal or nonverbal signal of what the problem is. Listen to your child. If they can speak and tell you what the problem is that makes your job much easier. If they can’t speak check for the common reasons for a crying child. Are they in pain? Do they have a clean diaper? Are they hungry? Are they too hot or cold? Is there something they see that they want, like a toy or to ride on the carosail? 

Give some love

Look your child in the eyes, tell them that you love them, and give them a good hug. Hugs comfort children. From the minute they are born they have been in your arms. When they are babies they are held in your arms while they are sick or hungry, its ok to continue this. Let your child know they are loved and feel it through a hug. You’ll be surprised just how much a hug can change the situation. 


Is your child “Hangry”? Being hungry can cause even the best of us to get testy. A snack is a good way to break the child’s tantrum by offering them something that they enjoy. Fresh fruit, raisins, or peanut butter crackers will satisfy their hungry, while making them feel like they've gotten a treat. 

Being with a child during a temper tantrum can be embarrassing and stressful. For an older child, setting expectations for behavior is important. Even then, sometimes they will still throw a fit. These tips should help you navigate some of the toughest situations as a parent of a younger child.