Children misbehave in public for many of the same reasons they misbehave at home. What complicates matters is that, their embarrassed parents may be reluctant to do anything immediately about it with the whole world watching.
A youngster soon discovers that she can get away with things in public that she would never be permitted to do at home.
You can help your youngster cope with public situations by taking care to instruct her beforehand on what to expect and how to behave. Start off with a few short excursions so she can practice appropriate behavior.
Later, she can graduate to longer trips, but you should try to avoid long, boring expeditions with your young child in tow. Prepare your journey by packing a few toys that will help keep her occupied in a strange new place. Consider the nature of the place you are going to and what you will be doing.
If you know that you will be spending time in something that is not interesting to your youngster, save some special toy that you can give her as a fresh diversion.
In explaining how you want your child to behave, be positive; do not go into all the bad things that could happen. If she does go into mischief, it is probably best to give her one warning before imposing a penalty. Once the warning has been given, allow no further infractions.
If the misbehavior occurs a second time, do precisely what you said you will do. Many parents find that time-out are effective away from home, especially if they have worked out in advance where the time-out is to be held and can take the child there promptly.
During the time-out permit no toys, conversation or other distractions. If friends or relatives are along, they may try to reassure you that your child’s behavior does not bother them, but you should not let their well-meaning remark soften your resolve.
Similarly strangers may offer comments or advice about the situation. The best thing is to put aside your embarrassment and deal with the problem the way you have planned in advance, as if there were no one else around.