How to respond to a child’s hysterical attack in a public place?
DevelopmentRaising a child
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How to respond to a child’s hysterical attack in a public place?

The hysteria of a child, especially in a public place, is a nightmare for many parents. How should they react then and what should they do?

Children often rebel, and crying, stamping their feet and screaming happens to many toddlers. Especially those who are going through a period of rebellion and are testing what they can afford. It is important that in such situations the parent should act wisely and rationally, and not under the influence of the moment and emotions. Only then can a compromise be worked out between the adult and the child, which will certainly bear fruit in the future.

Calmness is important

If a child becomes hysterical, it is crucial that the parent remains calm. Screaming, anger or an unacceptable (but unfortunately in some families used) slap and jerking should not take place. The child sees the parent’s anger and cries even more, making it harder for the child to calm down. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a few deep breaths and not let your emotions get the better of you. It is necessary to speak to the child in a calm tone and do everything to make this calmness give him.

It’s a good idea to take your child to a quiet place

If hysteria happens in a public place – in a store, on the street, in a cafe, etc. it is best to do everything to take the toddler away from the eyes of other, often nosy and giving unpleasant advice to third parties. Especially the older generation often allows themselves comments such as “once it was unthinkable that a child would behave like this”, which only increases anger and embarrassment.

It’s better not to react to this and try not to let the excited toddler hear the comments, because it will only make the situation worse. Gently pick up your child and take him or her to a quieter place, even to the side of the store.

Tell the child that you understand him or her

Do not shout at your offspring, but talk to him. Explain that you sometimes get angry too, and instead of saying “stop”, it’s better to say “I understand” or “it happens to me too”. You can suggest chasing the anger away in the form of a game, e.g. blow it into the clouds. The child and the parent take in air and blow it out with all their might. When talking to the child, it is a good idea to hug him or her, take him or her on your lap or squat down so that you can be at his or her height and not look at him or her from above.

When the child starts hitting his head on the floor, etc. – it’s important to keep him safe by holding and cuddling him so he can’t hurt himself.

Set common shopping rules with your child

Hysteria most often occurs in the store. These places tempt with thousands of different products – toys, sweets, etc. It’s no wonder that your child wants them and gets angry when they don’t get them. Experts often advise not to take children to hypermarkets too often, especially when we are not going to buy them anything.

Before shopping, it’s good to set the rules together, e.g. that we will buy one thing (and it’s best to specify whether it will be a candy bar, a book, or a toy). It is even a good idea to make a play agreement that the child draws on a piece of paper what he or she is going to get. Then, when the child starts to get angry – we remind him/her of our agreement and take out the drawing

Shopping together may also be – in case of slightly older children – a lesson of respect for money. Most children have piggy banks, so it is a good idea to decide before shopping what can be bought with the collected money. This way the child also learns how to save money, e.g. for a more expensive item. It is worth letting your child pay for his/her purchases at the checkout.

Don’t give way

A mistake that many parents make is that they give in to the child as soon as it starts to scream and cry. They then buy whatever their little one wants. In this way they teach that a toddler can always force what he wants. And instead of preventing another attack of hysteria – they show that this behavior is effective and allows to achieve the goal, such as buying a toy or a candy bar.

Main photo: Gustavo Fring, source:

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