40 Ways to Prevent Tantrums

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  • Watch the second hand.

    Can your child guess when a minute is up? How about 45 seconds?
  • Make predictions.

    For example, the next person to come in the door (or get in line) will be a woman with short brown hair.
  • Read lips.

    Can your child figure out what you're saying just by watching your lips move? Start out with some easy words like hi and wow, and then work your way up to longer phrases.
  • Pick up a pen.
    Show your child how his name looks in cursive, in huge block letters, or in shaky writing.
  • Remember Mommy.

    Have your child look at you and then tell him to close his eyes. What color is your shirt? Are you wearing earrings? Is your hair in a ponytail?
  • Make up stories about strangers.

    Look out the window or around the restaurant, and tell tales about the people you see ("See that man who's crossing the street? What do you think he's up to?"). This is a good way to encourage kids not only to observe details but also to be discreet.
  • Create a dual drawing.

    Let your child make a squiggle or a line, then add something to it and pass it back to him.
  • Hide a coin in your hand.

    Ask your child to guess which hand it's in. If she guesses correctly, she gets to hide it the next time.
  • Have some finger fun.

    Make two puppets by drawing a face on the tips of each of your child's index fingers.
  • Play tabletop concentration.

    Take six things out of your handbag, and lay them on the table. Have your child close her eyes while you remove one. Can she guess which item is missing?
  • Name that tune.

    Tap out the rhythm of a song, and see if your child can guess it. If he needs a clue, tell him the first word.
  • Make a goofy face.

    See if your toddler can imitate you.

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