Dealing with Toddler Tantrums
Auditions are hard. Every actor and model know that. Throw kids into the mix, and you’ve got an even bigger mess on your hands.
If you have a young kid, and are gearing up for their first audition, there’s always a chance that a tantrum might happen. Many kids don’t do well in new surroundings and can become antsy and impatient when forced into a confined space, like an audition waiting room.
Why do they happen?
Meltdowns are a part of childhood. Young kids, especially between ages 1-4, don’t have good coping and communication skills yet, so throwing a tantrum is their way of dealing with their emotions, as well as showing them. Every single tantrum results from one thing - not getting what they want. For newborns and kids ages 1-2, it’s also a way of showing that something’s not right: maybe it’s time for a diaper change or a new bottle. Babies can’t yet express their needs with words, so it’s their way to communicate. For older toddlers, tantrums are more of a power struggle. By throwing a tantrum they’re letting you know what happens if you don’t comply with their wishes.
To help you prepare for your child’s first auditions, we’ve gathered tips and tricks on how to prevent and deal with tantrums!
Here's what you can do:
1. Find out what's wrong
Younger kids under 2 years old use screaming and crying as means of communication, as their vocabulary is still very limited. If their needs aren’t met, they release their frustration by throwing a fit. What can help in this situation is to empathize with your child, which can help a little while trying to figure out what it is that your baby wants. Usually, this can be something obvious, like a full diaper, thirst or hunger.
2. Ignore them
For older kids, simply ignoring them might do the trick. When your child is having a meltdown, reasoning with them won’t help, because the emotions overflow any and every other scene in the brain. Let your kid vent out their feelings first, and have a talk after they calm down. Try to stay calm and not engage in a screaming match with your toddler. Trust us, you’re not going to win this battle anyway.
3. Distract them
Kids have a pretty short attention span. Use that to your advantage by having a selection of toys and snacks with you while out with your kid, including during the wait for an audition. Getting your kid interested in something else other than what they want in the moment can be just the trick you need. Whenever your child is in a power battle with you, pull out a toy they haven’t seen in awhile, or a snack, and see if that sparks their attention.
4. Give them a hug
This trick is rarely used by parents because it may seem that by hugging your child while they’re throwing a tantrum means you are supporting bad behavior. However, a good, firm hug can do wonders at calming down your child and making them feel safe and loved, even if you don’t agree with their behavior.
5. Think ahead
Being in an unknown environment, especially where there are lots of strangers around (like a photo shoot set or an audition) can be trying for any child. And while bribing is frown upon by most parenting experts, in some situations, it’s ok to recognize that you’re asking a lot of your child and offer them a little preemptive bribe. So before you get them in a situation that might provoke a tantrum, promise them to watch a movie later on, or to give them an ice cream when you get home. And if at any point your kid starts to behave badly, gently remind him about the "treat" you discussed. This will whip them back into shape in no time.
Overall, there’s really no way to foresee or completely prevent a child’s meltdown. They can happen anytime, anywhere. Sometimes you think you’ve done everything to stop a tantrum from happening, and it happens anyway. And sometimes you kid will completely surprise you by acting calm and peaceful in the utmost stressful situations.
Having an “arsenal” of tantrum-proof methods will only help you deal with a screaming and restless kid. What we’ve learned is:
1. There’s no sense in screaming back at you child. Keeping as calm as possible is your best bet.
2. Keep a selection of toys and snacks to distract your kid.
3. Offer a small bribe before going into a situation that might provoke bad behavior. Remember, it’s ok to offer you kid a little bribe if it’s on your terms and is done in advance.