10 Tips for Handling Tantrums on Vacation


During: Don't Reason

Don't bother reasoning. You'll just make yourself as mad as she is.
Don't bother reasoning. You'll just make yourself as mad as she is.
Steve Wisbauer/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Toddlers are amazing creatures. They are full of vitality and joy and awe. What they are not is particularly rational during a tantrum. In fact, the reasoning part of the brain, the frontal cortex, is effectively turned off during a freak-out.

If mid-tantrum toddlers are all emotion, it goes without saying that reasoning with them is a waste of breath. But you still hear parents trying to talk sense to a 3-year-old lying on his back kicking and screaming.

It's a natural inclination. But it's futile.

Beyond futile, it can even be destructive for the reasonable one in the relationship. Indulging the instinct to try to reason a toddler out of a tantrum can end up increasing a parent's sense of frustration, and since it's an ineffective approach, the fit will only end up lasting longer.

Next up: A few techniques that could shorten the duration…