‘It’s just the terrible two’s.’ The words were meant to comfort you after your child had to be carried over your shoulder as you made a hasty retreat from Target. Sadly, there is nothing that can comfort you after all the stares from onlookers and the kicks in the gut from your wonderful little guy. All you wanted to do was pick through the sales, buy a few essentials, mostly get a break from the inside of your home. You’re still reeling from the zero to sixty in your kid’s behavior. What went wrong?
Nothing. Everything. Tantrums are normal is the party line. Anyone with typical children would be frustrated, anyone with special needs children would feel lost, possibly hopeless. A fit in that case could mean the rest of the day is shot or at least the next few hours. Sometimes there truly isn’t anything you can do to prevent a colossal tantrum. Most times the key is in the prep work you do at home before you leave the house. Remember this, everyone has something that pacifies them. What soothes your child? You need the answer to that question. Maybe your kid is particularly tactile and has to touch everything. Have a few short strands of satin ribbon in your bag and give one to him when you see his anxiety levels start to rise. The object you choose to distract him with could be anything you think he will enjoy, a strand of buttons tied in fun knots, you could make it a craft project at home. Maybe your child has to mouth everything, much to your dismay. In that case, bring along safe mouthing objects you could easily find in a children’s learning store. Try rotating his comfort toys in and out of circulation so each one you introduce has a novelty aspect to it.
Anxiety, fear, disappointment, all standard precursors to bad behavior. Plan, communicate, and be ready to abandon mission.