How do you handle your child’s meltdown? I have to be honest, I was not always the greatest when it came to handling my child’s meltdown. There were many times that I handled it poorly. Even several that I was embarrassed with myself for the way I handled it. I remember sitting in my room of an evening re-hashing the entire scene in my head. Then thinking I was the worst parent for the way I handled it. I’m telling you this for those of you out there that have done the same thing. I want you to know you are not alone!
How to Handle Your Child’s Meltdown
First I think it’s important to understand what a meltdown is. It is not a child having a fit because they didn’t get their way or because they don’t want to do as they are told. Now sometimes those things can lead to a meltdown, but they don’t start that way.
A few weeks ago my mom returned from a trip with my 10 year old nephew. My mom has done a 10 year old trip with each of her grandchildren. This particular trip was the Grand Canyon. Being a boy that is all about the outdoors, my nephew was in heaven. The last 2 days of the vacation they rented a car to see some other sites. As they were driving across the desert the car totally shut down. She called to get a tow and was told it would be 4 hours. She told them that was unacceptable and called for a tow herself. She was told they could be there in 30 minutes.
With all the excitement and fear of being stranded in the desert, my nephew had a total meltdown. In my mom’s loving but firm voice she was able to get his attention. She then said, ” Instead of thinking about the bad, let’s talk about the good. ” She then started listing:
- Grandma was able to get the car to the side of the road safely.
- Instead of waiting 4 hours we are only having to wait 30 minutes.
- we have food and water, etc.
With each thing stated he calmed down a little more.
3 Steps for Dealing with a Meltdown
When you are dealing with a meltdown, emotions can tend to get in the way. Try following these 3 steps.
- Step back and evaluate the situation. Why are they having the meltdown? Is it because they are exhausted from going store to store? Are they scared of a situation you are in? Did they get their feelings hurt? If you have no idea why, then ask them what is wrong.
- Sometimes, you will need to just let them cry it out in order to understand the situation better. I know there have been several times that I have left the store, leaving all the things collected behind so that I could take a crying child home.
- Give them the reassurance they need. If it’s because they are tired from going store to store? Think if you really need to finish or can you save it for another day. If they are afraid, give them comforting reasons not to be. Have their feelings been hurt? Give them time to cry it out, then let them explain. You can feel anger because your child was hurt, but don’t show them the anger. Show them love and reassurance. No matter the situation, Love and Reassurance will always help!
Two thing you need to remember is that if they are having a meltdown:
- They can sense your mood and it can either fuel the meltdown or calm it.
- Each child is different. Meaning, that what will work for one child might not necessarily work for another.
What are some things you do when your child has a meltdown?
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