10th March 2016

How to stay calm during a toddler tantrum

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 21.10.37It’s nearly impossible to stay calm when your toddler is having a tantrum.

Especially when you can’t escape.

I’ve gone through it plenty of times on aeroplanes (that’s bad).

In supermarket queues (at least people in the vicinity can escape).

I’ve gone through it on car journeys (at least he’s stuck in his seat and can’t hurt himself).

And I’ve gone through it in public places (plenty of times).

I’ve been on the receiving end of glares plenty of times – most recently on a 7 hour flight when a lady in front of us who just didn’t like the sound of Wilfred crying when he was scared by turbulence, so decided to swizzle around 180’ and glare at his parents.

And yes, it made me boil inside.

Because did she honestly think we were enjoying the experience? As she sat in her seat with all that space to stretch her legs, without a toddler flying about in her arms and taking swipes at her face, did she really think she was having a worse time than us?


And did she really think we weren’t trying hard enough to calm him down? Because at that moment, we would have done pretty much anything to make it stop.

But as all parents of small toddlers know; if they want to have a tantrum, they will have a tantrum. And he didn’t care less that there was a lady glaring at his parents, because we’d disturbed the enjoyment of her lukewarm cup of breakfast tea.

Over time, I have realised that the best way to deal with it is try to stay calm and to repeat to myself: “I will probably never see these people again.”

But I also take comfort in hoping: “One day, you may have a child or grandchild of your own that has an epic tantrum and makes you think back to your behavior today. And when it happens, I hope you feel ashamed of yourself’.

Because even if they never get the joy of experiencing a mid-air tantrum of their own, it makes me feel better imagining a toddler flying about in their arms and taking swipes at their face.

Oh and I always try to remember – in 5, 10, or 20 minutes when my angry little person finally calms down, it will just be a memory.

A bad memory, yes.

But just a memory.