During: Look, It's Mickey Mouse!
It can take about five seconds for a 4-year-old to lose interest in an activity, a toy or a game. What can hurt you when you're trying to keep him occupied on the plane can actually help you in the midst of a tantrum.
Distraction can be a parent's best friend. If you think of a fit as the least-fun game ever, you could be looking at a quick way to stop it: Suggest another "game." As soon as the child starts freaking out, pull a new toy out of your bag, point out a dog walking by, offer a fun snack, mention a piggy-back ride around the airport, or make a completely crazy face.
With some quick, creative thinking, you may find you can avert a real fiasco.
Up next: Be the change.