Last month a toddler made news when JetBlue booted her and her family off the plane because she was having a crying fit. Colette Vieau and her husband had done everything in their power to get 2-year-old Natalie to calm down in her seat, to no avail. Eventually they were able to get the tantruming child buckled into her seat and were ready for takeoff. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the flight attendant informed them that the pilot made the decision to eject the family from the flight.
“We did what we were asked to do. We weren’t belligerent, drunk, angry or screaming. We were just having a hard time struggling with our children,” Vieau said. As a result, they had to make new flight arrangements as well as overnight lodgings, costing them an extra $2,000.
JetBlue countered by issuing a statement that said they “had customers that did not comply with crew member instructions for a prolonged time period. The captain elected to remove the customers involved for the safety of all customers and crew members on board.”
Apparently 2-year-olds are forced to comply with crew member instructions. Gosh, if I had known that’s all it takes, I would have selected a crew member as my mother’s helper during the toddler years.
Having been there myself, I’m sure these parents were beyond frustrated as they tried to stop the tantrum in its tracks. Unfortunately, kids work on their own schedules – tantrums are no exceptions. From infant to toddler years, a crying fit can come on as quickly as it takes to count to three, and sometimes for no reason at all. And while those around the crying toddler or baby are sure to be annoyed, no one is more distressed than the parent who feels responsible to stop it, but is powerless to do so.
While nothing is foolproof, here are a few things that have helped to coax young kids and babies out of crying fits:
1. Distract them. Sometimes all it takes is to blow on their face, and they’re so surprised by the sudden rush of air they forget all about crying. Show them how a flashlight works. Give them a glimpse at their face in the mirror. Find a toy that makes a neat sound. Use anything that takes the focus off of what they’re fussing about and changes the subject.
2. New sensation. One of the best ways I found that stopped my daughter from crying was to run some warm water and put her hand underneath. The feeling of her hand getting wet stopped the tears in their tracks and changed into wonderment as she opened and closed her fist under the running water.
3. Change of scenery. While the JetBlue parents weren’t able to do this, in most cases this should be totally feasible. Gather up your tearful toddler and bring her into the fresh air outside. Having all the noises, air, and sun to stimulate her can help to push aside those tantruming blues.
4. Throw a pity party. Sometimes they just need empathy. “I know it’s rough baby. Let it out.” Everyone can benefit from a good cry. Let him have a real tearjerker of a moment so he can get over it and go on with his day.
Of course, if nothing is stopping the screams and tears and you’re ready to tear your hair out – TAKE A BREAK. Put baby in his crib, close the door, and sit somewhere quiet for 10 minutes while you catch your breath. One of two things will happen as a result: he’ll either cry himself to sleep, or you’ll be refreshed enough to try a new round of making baby happy.
What have you done to help keep the tantrums and crying fits at bay?