I have three children who are 7,4 and 1. Between the three of them, there seems to always be one child in the middle of crises and have a meltdown. Sometimes these meltdowns can’t be helped. They are due to tiredness or not having the ability to control their emotions. But, here are 6 strategies to avoid meltdowns.
When there is an event in our day, I make sure to tell the children beforehand what is going to happen. I tell them where we are going and what type of behaviour I expect from them. I also lay out the consequences for breaking the rules. By doing this, children have time to expect what is going to happen next and it helps them behave better when you are out.
Time of day
I have discovered that the time of day in which an activity happens can dictate behaviour. In my family, any time after 3 pm seems to trigger more screaming and unhappy behaviour. This is not to say we don’t leave the house after that time, but I just come to expect it and know that the kids are most likely tired or just in their crankiness part of their day. If you don’t want meltdowns to happen, then I would suggest getting to know what parts of the day are hard to your children and then try to avoid outings during those times.
Children need a proper diet to have enough energy to last the whole day. My eldest daughter was coming home from school complaining about headaches. She was cranky and tired on a regular basis. It took me a while to figure out that she was not getting enough protein at the start of the day. I did some research and switched breakfast foods. We went from eating cereal to having either peanut butter on toast or a baked oatmeal that is full of protein and energy. Since making that change, she has stopped complaining about headaches. So maybe your child is acting up because they are lacking something in their diet. I know that when I don’t drink enough water, I get light headed. Children can be the same.
Since my eldest daughter was very young, she has always had a hard time controlling her emotions. When she gets angry, she flies off the handle with no warning and has an extremely hard time settling down. I may not be able to avoid her explosions, but I have been able to help her find tools to calm down. She is now 7 and she is still learning to use these tools. Some days, it feels like I have done zero work and we are absolutely nowhere. But other days, I see her using the tools we have talked about and she is able to calm herself down. There is still a long road ahead, but strides are being made.
I can’t avoid her tantrums, but I have been able to help her find tools to calm down. @onedtermined
Young children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. If you want to avoid meltdowns, make sure you have a routine that gives your child enough time to sleep. When my kids go to bed late and don’t have the regular amount of sleep, I know that the next day the kids might have a harder time.
Give them help
When my child is having a meltdown, there might be a small window that I might help them calm down. If I step in and help them calm down, there might be a chance they relax right away. If I wait too long, or they are too far gone, there is not much else to do then to wait it out.
The worst part of my day is when my children are exploding with anger and screaming at me. This happens regularly in my house and since I hate it so much, I have worked hard at finding ways to reduce the number of blow-ups. It’s not a perfect system, but changing a few things around in the day has helped the general mood in the house.
What strategies do you use to avoid meltdowns?