How To Handle a Toddler Tantrum In The Car

Toddler temper tantrums are exhausting enough on their own. However, when you combine a tantrum with the circumstances of being in a moving vehicle, it can get even more overwhelming.  

It’s easy to feel vulnerable and unsure about what to do when you’re on the road with a child in hysterics behind you. Without keeping your cool, you could risk getting hit by another vehicle. Therefore, when faced with a tantrum in the car, it’s important to know the right protocol.

Here are some of the best tips for handling a tantrum while driving in the car. 

Pull Over and Identify The Problem

It’s not easy to ignore someone screaming when you’re confined to a small space like a car. Since their screaming is a potential safety issue, it’s in everyone’s best interest to try to remedy the issue. That doesn’t mean giving in to their demands, but identifying the problem first, and moving on to a solution that works for everyone.

Rather than dealing with their fit while accelerating, find a safe place to pull over and stop your car. Identify if it’s because their car seat is uncomfortable or something else which can be easily fixed. If it’s something out of your control or an unreasonable demand, then accept the circumstances and move on.

Provide a Distraction

Older children may be able to be reasoned with or given ultimatums to stop their fussing. However, toddlers are more difficult to convince. They may not be equipped with the emotional tools or logic to calm themselves down.

Therefore, you may want to consider providing a distraction. Give them a toy to hang on to, or turn up the radio. Explain that you’ll be at your destination soon, and try to continue providing distractions. 

Show Compassion

Sometimes all your child needs is to feel heard. One of the best ways to diffuse a temper tantrum is to show your child that you have compassion for what they’re going through. Even if they’re tantrum is over something absurd, try to show them that you value their feelings.

Try to echo what they’re saying to show that you understand and care. Rather than telling them what to do, show them that you understand how they might feel frustrated. 

When your child fees like you understand how they’re feeling, they’re usually more willing to calm down and agree to your terms. 

Ride it Out
When all else fails, sometimes it’s a matter of riding out the storm. Try to turn up the radio and stay as calm as possible. Focus on the road ahead of you and don’t forget to remind yourself that this challenging moment won’t last forever!

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