Toddler meltdowns are a sign that a need is not being met.
Today we went to the phone store to get my phone fixed. Bug (2y)
happily walked around checking things out most of the time. He started
getting upset just before we left, mumbling something I couldn't
understand. When I started to put him into his car seat he had a full
blown freak out.
Instead of forcing him into his car seat, I stood back up, held him at
eye level, and patiently waited for him to regain enough composure to
communicate. I asked him what he needed, while he flailed and yelled.
People walking by stared at me and gave me looks, but I didn't care. I
have no obligation to them. I do have an obligation to meet my son's
needs and treat him respectfully.
He took a deep breath and
mumbled what I thought was "I need a green apple". So I attempted to put
him into his seat again while assuring him we would go get a green
apple. His back arched. He screamed. He flailed. So again I held him on
"You don't need a green apple? Is that not what you said?" I asked.
"I needa new diaper," he mumbled through his tears.
"OOOOOH! Gotcha!" I can certainly understand not wanting to sit in a
dirty diaper in a car seat. So we got him cleaned up and he happily
buckled into his seat (still rear facing, by the way!).