We've all been there. You're at a restaurant, in church, on an airplane or at a play-date and something triggers a toddler tantrum. If you can't make things right immediately, the situation can get frustrating quickly. Never fear! Here are 20 tried-and-true ways to distract your toddler.

Sing a quiet song

Try to hold your child near to you and sing one of his or her favorite songs quietly.

Sing a silly song

Have a few in your repertoire. I have one handed down to me from my father, who learned it from his father. It's a guaranteed laugh-getter in our family. The sillier, the better.

"Steal" your child's nose

If you don't know this trick, it's easy. Pretend to pluck off your child's nose and hold it in your hand, tucking your thumb under your index finger to represent the nose. You can take it off and put it on again multiple times.

Find a treasure in an ear

It can be your ear or theirs. The treasure can be real or imaginary.

Look out a window

In a calm voice, point out what you see. Ask the child what they see, or if they see a specific object, person, or animal.

Bounce or dance

Toddlers love to dance with adults, or to be bounced in their arms. Sing a light-hearted song like "You Are My Sunshine" while dancing to lighten the mood.

Pretend to fall asleep

Sometimes no reaction is the best reaction. My kids were always baffled by this one, and soon wanted nothing more than for me to wake up.

Get out the electronics

This wasn't an option when my oldest daughter was a baby, so it's not my "go-to" method, but it can be helpful. Make sure your device is pre-loaded with some toddler friendly apps and music. Kids also enjoy taking photos of themselves.

Play peek-a-boo

You can use your hands to hide behind, or a blanket or cloth. Small children love pulling the blanket down in time for you to say "Boo!"

Sing an action song

Well-known examples include, "The Wheels On the Bus," "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "If You're Happy and You Know It."

Make a funny face

Repeat as necessary, then encourage your toddler to make one, too.

Make animal sounds

Start with basic farm animals, but less familiar animal sounds might intrigue your toddler more.

Take him or her on a walk

This can be done inside or outside.

Offer a snack or drink

There are very few places where small children are not allowed to eat, but make sure you're not in one of them when you use this method.

Try a toy

I keep a few very small toys in my purse for this reason. Toys with texture or fun designs work well.

Hide a small object

in one of your hands, and try to get them to guess which hand it is in.

Read a book

Again, small books can be tucked into purses or bags easily. Try some with tactile functions, like lift-the-flaps or things to touch.

Try to reason with them

Good luck with this one.

Speak in another language

to them. If you don't know a foreign language, try a nonsense one.

Tell a story

I like to tell a story that mimics the situation we are in. I describe my child calming down and doing fun things. Add their favorite animal, friend, or character to make him more interested.

Being able to distract your toddler is a necessary parenting skill. I did some field research while writing this article with my 2-year-old. She was more than happy to play the part of the wiggly child who wants her way. Knowing several of these methods helped me to calm her down and distract her. Not one trick worked every time. Prepare yourself for the next difficult situation with a few of these 20 ways to distract your toddler. You'll both be happier you did.

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