6 Strategies to avoid meltdowns

I have three children and between the three of them, there seems to always be one child in the middle of crises and have a meltdown. Here are 6 strategies to avoid meltdowns.

Sometimes these meltdowns can’t be helped. They are due to tiredness or not having the ability to control their emotions.

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6 strategies to avoid meltdowns

1. Preparation

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.

2. Time of day

I have discovered that the time of day in which 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 the 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 for your children and then trying to avoid outings during those times.

3. Diet

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 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.

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4. Training

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.

5. Sleep

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 a regular amount of sleep, I know that the next day the kids might have a harder time.

6. 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 than 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.

In the comments below, share what strategies you use to avoid meltdowns. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

Author: Anne Markey

Anne is a stay at home mother of 3 who has been married for more then 10 years. She loves the Lord and is passionate about helping women learn who they are in Christ and how to live a life that glorifies Him.

31 thoughts on “6 Strategies to avoid meltdowns”

  1. Thanks for the great tips! I would also suggest meditation , as this is something that can improve mental clarity and stability in both adults and children. It’s also a great way to teach children compassion and empathy.

  2. These are all awesome tips. Keeping them happy and busy are great, and also taking the time (and lots of patience!) to listen and understand them is very important as well!

  3. Thank for sharing your tips! We as parents always have to find the way to live through the tantrums .. A agree with diet so much! It affects the behavior even of us – adults.

  4. Great post! Any suggestions on how to encourage my pre-teen girl to take her vitamins and cut back on the sugar and carbs? We see the change it has on her, but she is just THAT stubborn.

  5. Chocolate. I bribe with Chocolate.

    Just kidding. I don’t. I’ve tried before though. It only works momentarily and then the meltdowns get worse. Not worth it.

    We “belly breath”. There’s this great little video of Elmo learning how to belly breath when the monster inside of him comes out. We used to watch it when my son needed to calm down, now we just do it ourselves. Look it up on Youtube.

  6. This is really helpful, especially for a new mother like me. I’ve definitely learned that making sure that my child has the sleep that he needs per day equals a happy baby the next day 🙂

  7. Thank you for the tips. Some I have tried already and just have to keep crossing my fingers. I’ll trying preparation though.

  8. A lot of the time, if I’m cranky or irritable, I just need sleep or food! I don’t have any kids but these tips work great with any age!

    xx Carly | thecarlycollective.com

  9. Consistency and Routine. My four year old thrives on knowing what will happen every day! And 3 pm – 6 pm without a nap definitely will affect your evening! 🙂

  10. I am a college student and struggle with anxiety – and these were some great tips! I know not getting enough sleep is a big thing for me, so I definitely need to work on that!

  11. I can definitely agree that diet and sleep contribute a lot. Love your tips very informational!

  12. These tips are so helpful! I loved the tip about talking to your children first. That is such a smart idea. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Love your tips. I’ve always been a firm believer that busy kids are happy kids, so I always try to figure out ways to keep them engaged in whats going on. I.e. rather then run around like a crazy woman getting everything packed, each kid gets a few tasks to help out. I stumbled on how well this worked when my youngest melted down cuz I always asked the oldest…LOL. I also believe kids do tgrive in structure, so wven if an event interrupts the day, have a routine for leaving the house can help with the transition.

  14. I totally agree. For us, the predictability of routine is also key. My 3-year-old thrives with consistency, and we all suffer without it. LOL/cry

  15. It is funny that you added diet to this because I am seeing such a combination between my diet and my day. I hate admitting that but it is so darn true. Carbs are my killer.

      1. Such a big factor! I see that with my 2 year old. She’s becoming picky with her eating now, so we’re working to find a variety of foods she’ll eat and enjoy which will fill her tank.

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