How often have you been out with your child when he has been misbehaving? Maybe this has happened in a restaurant or a park, and you have felt others are judging you? This happens quite a lot, and particularly to fathers on their own with their children. Other people will be wondering how you are going to handle such a situation.
If this misbehaviour, or worse still, a tantrum occurs in a public place, you shouldn’t worry what others are thinking about you. Young children always have their moments of bad behaviour, it is part of the growing up process, and everyone knows this can happen anywhere.
If it does, you should never lose your cool, but try to be relaxed about it. If possible, go outside for a few minutes until your child has calmed down, talking to him with a soft but firm voice. You can also try distracting your child with a game, such as spotting certain colour cars when you are either inside or outside the restaurant.
Don’t worry about others judging you, but think about why you are out with your child in the first place. It is to have fun and spend quality time with him. In that moment, actually it should always be like that, he is the most important person in your life, and it is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, and do something that you both love doing.
It is far more important that you have a great time together, even if it is sometimes very challenging, rather than worrying about what other people might say. You should never feel self conscious about being in a situation like this with your child, it is part of life.
What can you do when you are stuck in traffic with your toddler? You know how tense it can become as your child starts getting boisterous or screaming his head off. So you need to invent some games to amuse him and stop him getting bored.
A good game to try is “the snooker game”. This can take anything up to 30 minutes to play, and will keep your toddler very interested. The objective of the game is to spot cars which are the same colours as the balls on a snooker table.
Most of the colours are easy to spot, so you start off with red, and go all the way through to black. However, have you ever noticed just how few yellow, brown or pink cars there are on the roads? In fact there are virtually no pink ones at all, so the game can really go on for as long as you want it to. Your child will be enthralled.
A variation on this game is spotting makes or types of cars. You get to choose the make to be looked out for, and whoever spots one first gets to choose the next one to find. This too can go on for as long as you need it to.
Try them, they really work, and tell me what you think.
When your child is a Toddler you will know how often tantrums occur, and sometimes at the worst possible moments. These can be very inconvenient as you know. So when it happens don’t be afraid to call their Bluff!
When my son was throwing a tantrum and refused to listen to reason and kept saying “I’m leaving home, I hate this house!” (Of course he didn’t mean it), I had to find a strategy that could calm everything down. He was three years old at the time and kept saying “I don’t want to live here any more”.
I picked him up and escorted him to his bedroom, and found his little suitcase, and started packing it for him, telling him what he would need when he left home. Gradually he calmed down as he watched me packing his bag for him.
I then walked him to the front door and opened it, put his suitcase outside and said “there you go, good luck!” He became more and more sheepish as the episode unfolded, and as he stood in the doorway, the tantrum was completely forgotten about, he then apologised and said he didn’t really want to go.
He was very well behaved for many weeks after that, and when he threw a tantrum again, I only had to remind him that I would go and get his suitcase, and he calmed down immediately.