What can I do if my son has a tantrum during a playdate?

Tantrums are a normal part of development, so take comfort knowing that you are not the first parent to struggle with your child’s tantrums. When your son gets upset or frustrated, he becomes flooded with emotions that he is not yet able to regulate on his own. As his parent, you can help him build the skill of regulating his emotions by supporting him. When you notice your son getting upset, try to distract and redirect his attention. If that tactic doesn’t work, calmly pick up your son and remove him from the situation by taking him to another room or outside. Sometimes a simple change of scenery is enough to tame a tantrum. Because your son’s threshold for frustration is likely to be lower if he is tired or hungry, it is important to make sure that your child is well-rested and fed before heading to a playdate.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

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