10 Tips for Handling Tantrums on Vacation

During: Let 'er Rip

You hear it a lot: The best way to handle a tantrum is to ignore it. And hard as it is to practice in public, especially around the other tourists who've paid a lot for the snorkeling trip your toddler has inexplicably grown bored with, it's nonetheless an ineffective management technique, and for a couple of reasons.

First, a toddler throwing a tantrum wants attention, all of it. Giving your attention only teaches that tantrums work. Withholding your attention, even to the point of turning your back and, if you're in a safe place, walking away until the fit stops, can discourage further attempts at gaining your undivided attention via shrieking.

The other thing to realize is that toddlers have lots of energy, and when that energy turns to anger, sometimes they just need to get it out. Letting the tantrum take its natural course can be the best way to end it.

The ignore-it method is not so easy while vacationing, and is a particularly nightmarish proposition on an airplane, but you can make it work with a bare minimum of evil looks from bystanders. Simply tell your fellow passengers what you're doing: Ignoring the tantrum so it'll end sooner. You may be surprised how far a considerate explanation can go.

Up next: Something to think about while you're letting the kid scream…