It is bound to happen - when your child has a public melt down. You child is never an angel 100% of the time.
This is a whole new ball game as opposed to melt downs at home. When your child is losing his/her mind at home, as long as they are in a safe location and the windows are closed, I would say just let them be. They are obviously feeling a lot of emotions at the moment and need to get it out of their system. It can be loud and somewhat annoying but you know this moment will soon pass and your child will once again become the angel they once were.
When your child has a melt down in public, it is likely the same scenario as a melt down at home except it is more uncomfortable (for you); it is magnified and looks like their world is about to end; and you have other eyes watching what your next move will be. Sounds super dramatic as likely everyone has their own issues to deal with and not paying the slightest bit of attention to you.
My daughter had two public meltdowns in her 3.5 year old life. Not bad stats I think. Her recent meltdown was at Shopper's Drug Mart. She was crying and screaming and she had kicked off her winter boots in the store. (Are you feeling for me yet? Can you relate?) Here are some tips
DON'T PANIC AND FOCUS
Seriously, once you start panicking, you won't be able to act or react rationally either. Try to be or appear to be calm. Also, your child can sense or feel weakness from you. Focus on the task at hand - getting your child to calm down or leave with you. Don't worry about what others are thinking or watching. They are very likely giving you zero attention. At most, they will look at you briefly because of the noise and then look away because it might be uncomfortable for them too.
STAND YOUR GROUND AND DON'T GIVE IN
Whatever that started the meltdown, stand your ground. If your child is wants you to buy a toy, don't do it. If she wants to stay for a bit longer for whatever reason, don't do it. Giving in will just teach her this is how she gets what she wants and you are in for a never-ending string of public meltdowns. Talk to your child about what is happening and how it needs to end. You might not get a word in or she might not listen but at least try to resolve the issue.
LEAVE THE SCENE (WITH YOUR CHILD)
You have to leave eventually and the sooner the better. A long meltdown is not healthy for anyone. Either ask your child to leave with you, encourage her to leave by taking her hand, or carry her out. Sometimes a change of scenery helps the situation. Don't try to reason or discipline your child at this time, it will just be a waste of time! Your child might not be in the "mood" for a chat so maybe talk to her later when you are both calmer.
Moms, even if you are sweating from your child's meltdown, don't sweat it. It will blow over and you will be stronger because of it!
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