The best ways to handle your child’s public meltdowns-tantrum-meltdown-parenting-kids in ball pit

The best ways to handle your child’s public meltdowns

What are the best ways to handle your child’s public meltdowns? I wrote a post the other day about how Molly had a meltdown in the library. She loves a good tantrum does Molly, but oftentimes, her tantrums progress into a full-on meltdown. She is almost four, meltdowns aren’t a new occurrence for us, yet the other day I didn’t handle her meltdown very well. Talk about mum guilt!

Molly isn’t a fan of big groups, loud noises, or joining in, and she gets quite easily overwhelmed. She’d much rather observe from the sidelines. As her mum, I know her triggers and when she’s struggling. I think I know how best to calm her before she gets too overwhelmed. But sometimes, the meltdown happens anyway, maybe if I haven’t managed to soothe or control the situation in time, or if she’s just not having it.

Usually, I try to calm the situation or let Molly get on with it until she’s bored and wants a cuddle. I don’t care what people think. Usually! But, for some reason, under the watchful and very unhelpful eye of bystanders, I caved and found myself leaving the library.

This bothered me because I should have made sure I didn’t let it get to me. As soon as we were home and calmed down I felt awful, for both myself and Molly. I could, and should, have handled it better. She was obviously struggling and I probably made her feel worse. There’s that mum guilt again.

I know I am not the first and won’t be the last parent to feel like this. I asked some fabulous fellow bloggers for their opinions on what they think the best ways to handle your child’s public meltdowns are. These are their top tips:


Try to figure out what the issue is

I try to get to the root of the issue. There is generally a cause – hunger, tiredness, overwhelm. I always try to respond with empathy and patience. Anything else just escalates the issue. – Nyomi from Nomipalony


Remain calm

Get down to their level and talk very calmly and hug it out – Lianne from Anklebiters Adventures

Just try to stay as calm as possible. There’s no point getting het up or worrying about what anyone else might think. Just let it run its course and then carry on – Beth from Twinderelmo

If it’s for no reason then I will try to stay calm and ignore it, carrying on as normal doing the food shop (which is where it normally happens). If I give attention it just feeds it and gets worse! – Victoria from Lylia Rose


Distract them

My younger son just turned 2 is been having several tantrums lately much more than his older brother. We usually try to stay calm and ignore him or try to distract him with another activity or toy. It usually just runs its course. It’s a phase that will pass eventually. – Folakemi from Peacocks Can Fly


Join in

Depending on where it is, I sometimes join in. The look of shock on his face is enough to get him to stop, well at least pause for an attempt at reasoning – Victoria from The Growing Mum

I let Erin lay on the floor for as long as she needs to. I’ve joined her on occasion too! – Lyndsey from Me Him the Dog and a Baby


Let them get on with it

I like to let my daughter have her meltdown. Even if it means standing still for many minutes. Children have a wide range of emotions, that they often can’t help at just a few years old. I like to smile at strangers as they stare and let my daughter know I’m nearby. – Katy from KatyKicker

My daughter has always been a meltdown pro. Obviously, the best thing to do is avoid it, but when that isn’t possible sometimes you can’t diffuse it at an early stage with empathy (or distraction when necessarily). When they are in full swing I think you just need to be there and let them work it through. At that point, they can’t listen to logic, reason or even threats. – Kate from Counting to Ten

I don’t think there’s much you can really do. I let me daughter work it out and make sure she doesn’t hurt herself in the process. – Ayse from Arepops


Ignore it or walk away

I walk away and hide around the corner. My kids soon start to worry and forget they were having a tantrum. – Pete from Household Money Saving

I usually scoot down to his level and ask what’s going on. If that doesn’t work I do the old ‘ok bye’ and 9/10 it stops and he runs after me.
It’s hard because they can’t get out what’s in their head. To us it’s nothing. To them, it’s the end of the world – Sinead from Sinead Latham

I ignore her. It makes me look like a terrible mum to the world lol but it works. When she realises she’s not getting my attention she stops and becomes an angel again – Natasha from Kiddo Adventures


Understanding that every child has different needs – what works for one child might not work for another

My top tip as a parent of an autistic child is to advise against using the terms ‘tantrum’ and ‘meltdown’ interchangeably. – Leigh from Dad Geek


And if all else fails…

I walk into the kitchen, put my hand in the fridge and pour myself the biggest wine humanely possible and then ask myself why I didn’t take my contraception that morning then I take a big gulp of wine xxx   – Carla-marie from My Bump 2 Baby


Have you found yourself in this situation before? What do you think are the best ways to handle your child’s public meltdowns? Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear your tips!


Sam x



  • passion fruit, paws and peonies

    I used to try reasoning. It sounds a very grown up solution – but in truth it would start that way (and sometimes worked) but would easily and often resort to all the methods above including Carla-Marie’s option of gulping down wine! x

  • Mrs Mummy Harris (@mummyharris86)

    I think bending down to their level and trying to talk to them calmly can sometimes work, if not a distraction also can help. I think having a range of tools to try helps as sometimes a usual tactic may not work in a situation and we all hate those staring eyes, I just want to punch those judgey people!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

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