Out and About with the Excitable Child

Tantrums, shouting, screaming and general ‘over-excitement’ can be very difficult for any parent to deal with, and these moments tend to happen often at busy times. When in the home they are easier to deal with, but what happens when you are out and about?

Here our parenting team share their top-tips for helping the ‘excitable child’ when in public.

Shopping trip:

Shopping trips are super hard work, and very boring for children. Make sure the children are fed and watered, and that they aren’t too hot in the shops. Break the trip up into priorities, so if you have to return home and don’t tick off everything on your list it’s not the end of the world.

Team up. Agree with a parent, or friend to team up on the shopping trip, one may keep the children amused and the other run round. Make sure you are both aware of which children you are responsible for. If a child has a tantrum, we advise you to ignore it, it will stop sooner if you do this.

And finally if there are any children’s play areas or activities in the shopping centre, factor time in for these, grab a coffee and give them ten minutes just to have fun.

Party time:

Parties, for both children and adults, can have a very ‘un-fun’ aspect for the excitable child. Speak to your children about what will be involved in the event beforehand. Explain what will happen and who will be there, and reassure them that you will be there if they need anything.

If it is an adult party take a bag of not too precious toys and activities they can do to keep themselves amused. Also have a bag with pjs and wash kit if it gets late, as preparing them for bed will be a good transition to calming down time and make them feel comfortable if tired. If they do get upset or over-excited find a quiet corner or corridor, and sit with them a while.

Finally oversee food intake, and clothing, make sure they have plenty of water and some fresh food as well as party food, and that they don’t get too hot and bothered.

Eating out:

Learning to behave well in restaurants is a good social tool for children to have going into adulthood, however they are still children, so be prepared for boredom to set in. Make sure they have some colouring in, or a small activity to do at the table, or engage with them and make origami animals out of napkins etc, be creative!

Teaching table manners at home will ensure they can eat well and happily when out and about, but a quiet word beforehand will remind them how they are to behave.

If a child does get irritable sometimes a simple trip to the loo will be enough activity for a ‘break’, talk about the restaurant and food as you go, wash hands and have a chat in the peace and quiet, and talk about what you are going to do after the meal is over.

The public:

If your child has become ‘over-excited’, try and keep calm yourself. This is the hardest thing, especially when people are looking and making comments, and your upset and stress levels rise. Remember anyone with children has been through this before, and we have all been children ourselves! Block out any negative interactions from the public, and focus on your child. You and your child matter, not the opinions of others. You do not need to defend yourself or your child, and you do not need respond.

When out of the moment, if you need to cry and rant, call a supportive friend, sometimes we just need to hear that we are doing our best and that this behaviour is normal, you can then put the incident behind you.

Key things to remember:

  • Be prepared
  • Stay calm
  • Focus on the child