Flustered about your child’s tantrums? It’s a frustrating behavior that can stretch way beyond the terrible twos, but if you learn how to curb it early, you’ll be able to navigate this stage without losing your mind.

It never hurts to have more than one trick up your sleeve to thwart an outburst, so we’re happy to help by offering these 11 strategies. When your little pumpkin starts to go into Jekyll and Hyde mode, try one of these tips to stop the madness.

  1. Distraction

    You know this tactic already, but never underestimate its power. “Hey, how about we play with/watch this?” can help you nip a tantrum. Find a toy, TV show, or anything to divert your kid’s attention.

  2. Step Away

    It will feel like you’re retreating but you’re not. Instead of getting into a confrontation with your child, walk away during the messiness and allow him to calm down. If you’re in a public setting, calmly pick your child up so that you both can step away for a few moments.

  3. Count to Stop a Meltdown in Progress

    Okay, so this is pretty much a threat. Tell your child you’re counting to 3, 5, or whatever, and if they don’t stop by the time you get there, then ____. Name your consequence, and don’t bend.

  4. Count to Prevent a Tantrum

    One blogger mom employs the counting method in a different way. She uses a 10-count, and within that period, she tells her kid he can continue to do what he wants and once she gets to ten, they’re on to the next thing. He gets to enjoy a few more seconds of his activity but knows what to expect next.

  5. Secret Word

    Teach your kid a code word to use in public when she’s feeling agitated or upset. You can then find a corner to speak privately without creating a scene.

  6. Let the Dog Intervene

    One strategy is to call in the family pet for intervention. Have Whiskers or Fido’s calming presence help your child to settle down so you both can talk it out.

  7. Use Music to Soothe the Tantrum Beast

    Either sing or play some music your child likes that can change the energy back to “happy”. Headphones, a car stereo, or home speakers can help, as can your own melodic voice!

  8. Get Silly

    Crack jokes or act goofy to make your child laugh and switch gears. Laughter can lighten things up and turn a stubborn stance into silliness.

  9. Find a Happy Place

    Not in your head, but a quiet spot where you can take your child to calm down. If you’re home, make it a designated area for moments like these. When out, find a location away from others.

  10. Speak Gently

    Nine times out of ten, a tantrum will be loud. Instead of raising your voice, continue to speak in a soft, gentle tone to change the direction of your exchange. Continue to remain calm as you talk your child down from the edge of no reason.

  11. Give Her a Treat

    We know this is bribing, but giving your kid a snack is like plugging a leak. It works as long as you don’t make it your only tantrum weapon. The tears and screaming will eventually come to an end, which is why you should keep cookies or another treat in your bag.

You probably use a combination of these techniques, but which works best? Is there anything on this list that is new to you? What’s your tantrum-stopping method?