Toddler Tantrums And What To Do About Them

If you’re a parent (or guardian) with small children you will no doubt be painfully aware of the excruciating agony caused by the public tantrum.

We’ve all been there. Right? Happy kid one minute. Screaming public spectacle the next.

Plus our little darlings pick the most embarrassing places and/or times to execute their high-pitched scream-a-thon for maximum impact.

I mean these tiny, cute little creatures have got it all figured out. And they don’t care. They couldn’t care less that the whole world has stopped in their tracks to find the cause of this unholy outburst.

Toddler having a tantrum while older sibling holds her.
GinGin is doing her best to pose for this “nice photo of the two of them” – aww so cute!

But you and me, dear mamas and papas, we do care. Even if we do a good job of pretending we don’t. (Or not).

We can feel the eyeballs of all those strangers burning into us. Judging us. Tut-tutting in our direction.

Obviously their toddlers are perfect. They have never had to deal with a screaming child in public, because their little angel would never behave like that.

Yeah right.

Worse still are those people that don’t have children. Ooh those people can glare can’t they. “Why can’t you just control your child.”  That’s what I imagine they’re saying as they roll their eyes and plan where they’re going to eat lunch.

Scratch that. Make that enjoy lunch!

Somewhere nice.

Where there’s no need to squeeze a pushchair in between tightly packed tables, whilst trying not to swipe other patrons’ food off the table with an over-sized but still useless nappy bag.

Where there’s no danger of food being launched across the venue because it’s not peas. Or it is peas but the wrong peas.

Where cutlery doesn’t have to be kept in a heap in the middle of the table – well out of reach!

Those child-free-starers are free to go about their day. In their own time. On their own terms.

All the while we’re left trying to coax the screamer out of their episode of screaming. And we’re trying to do it calmly.

Without using threats. Or bribes.

Or any other method that will intensify the strangers’ glares.

But this post mummies and daddies is not for the likes of you and me. This post is for everyone else. It’s advice on how to cope with the tantrums of other people’s children.

And it’s great advice, so keep reading!

What To Do If You See Someone Else’s Child Having a Tantrum

So here it is. Here’s the killer advice you’ve come here to read.

If you witness a child screaming in public – I mean heavens above you never, ever have to encounter something so harrowing. So catastrophic. So unforgivable – but if you do witness a full-blown toddler-tantrum here’s what you should do:

  • NOTHING. Not a damn thing.
  • Mind your own business.
  • Get on with your day.
  • Don’t stare. Even if you don’t mean to stare. Don’t.
  • Maybe give the mama a smile and a knowing nod. She’ll appreciate that.

But eye-rolls, rude comments made loudly on purpose, sly pics on an iPhone to meme later, are not helpful. And they’re not necessary.

Nobody gives a crap what you’re doing, so don’t be so intrusive as stare at us poor mamas and papas who are trying to get on with our day.

You are not better than us. Your kids are no better behaved than ours. The scenario you’ve made up in your own head about what your future children will be like is a fantasy.

Small children are finding their way in the world. They are learning. Exploring. Finding out new stuff all day long. Time is meaningless to them. And they very often haven’t learned the words needed to express themselves.

So when they want to walk in the opposite direction to where we need to go, or when they want to stop at every new pebble to pick it up and compare it to the one grasped in their tiny little hands, or just sit down in a puddle, they will.

And they will cry, scream, shout, stamp, throw themselves to the floor and kick if we try to stop them. That’s what toddlers do.

A tantrum gives our children a way to express their frustration.

Some days we have infinite patience. Some days we can take this in our stride. And some days we just don’t mind.

On these days those we probably don’t notice the stares.

But some days we are tired. We are in a hurry. We are unwell. We’ve received bad news. We haven’t slept …. for days. We’re stressed. We’re wondering how the hell we’re going to make it through the day, and it’s only 09:15!

On those days your stares injure us. They are mortifying to us.

So please, if you see someone else’s child having a tantrum in a public place just ignore it. Go about your day. Throw the parent a little smile if you can’t hide the fact you’ve noticed them. But please don’t stare.

Hey mummies and daddies do you have any advice that you’d like to add to this? If so, pop it in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

What Next?

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Advice on what to do if you see someone else's child having a tantrum in a public place. Humorous post for mothers who have small children. Can you relate?
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Tales From Mamaville

Jennie (GinGin & Roo)
Jennie (GinGin & Roo)

Hi, I’m Jennie and I’m the blogger and content creator behind the award-winning blog GinGin & Roo, a UK parenting and lifestyle blog.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Kate 🍷 (@TheMumConundrum)
    November 5, 2018 / 2:01 pm

    THE WRONG PEAS! What were you thinking?! Hahaha! Great post and very well said. Thanks for linking up with #ItsOK lovely xxx

  2. November 4, 2018 / 12:24 am

    This post should be pasted outside supermarkets and other common places where children are likely to have tantrums – it’s spot on and has some sound advice! Hate it when smug mums or worse still non-parents pass snide remarks and comment on our parenting – hell, try broken sleep for 6 years before opening your mouth!!!
    Thanks for linking up with us at #itsok

    • November 5, 2018 / 6:09 pm

      Thanks! I’m so glad you liked the post. It amazes me that people are so quick to judge us parents when our little darlings are having a moment.
      I mean it’s not like every other child ever hasn’t done it at some point.
      I’m loving the linky 😊

  3. October 31, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    This is right up my street at the moment. In the last six weeks during my three year old’s tantrums, I’ve had one person say he needs a smack, and someone else say loudly so I could overhear, that this is the reason they don’t have kids. I just want to tell them all to sod off!

    • October 31, 2018 / 3:14 pm

      Oh my gosh that’s horrible! I don’t know why people can’t just mind their own business. Oh yeah – I know why – everyone else is perfect 👌
      Did you say anything back to those people? I’m not sure I’d be able to hold back!

        • November 1, 2018 / 11:13 am

          Good for you! I can’t imagine why they thought saying such a thing was warranted or helpful :/

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