When your little bundle of joy suddenly becomes the toddler from hell, you may feel like you are at your wits’ end. It’s not that you’re a bad parent. Toddlers have tantrums because they don’t have the verbal skills and emotional maturity to handle and express their feelings. It’s normal and it can happen even to the best of children.
When your child has a meltdown, here are six simple things you can do to help diffuse the tension. Here’s how to handle a toddler meltdown.
- Don’t panic or become enraged yourself. When your child has a meltdown, it’s not about you. It’s about him and his feelings. You’re not a bad parent so stop judging yourself. If you panic or start getting angry, the situation will escalate. Approaching the situation by becoming louder and angrier will only make your child more distraught. Take a deep breath and calm down.
- Prevention is key. Toddlers usually get fussy when they are tired, hungry or need to go to the bathroom. Before you leave the house, make sure your child has napped, eaten and used the potty. If you know your child has a meltdown because he can’t buy the toy he wants at the store, avoid the toy aisle or don’t take him with you if possible. Avoid the triggers so you don’t have to deal with the situation in the first place.
- Go down to your child’s eye level. The first thing you should do when you child starts going on a hissy fit is to bend down and look him in the eye. It brings comfort to a child when you talk to him at eye level. You can try distracting your child by pointing out something colorful, funny or interesting. You can try to make silly faces or start clapping.
- Talk in a low calm voice to soothe your child. When you are looking at your child in the eye, speak to him in a calm manner. If your voice starts to become shrill, he will get more aggravated. This is easier said than done, but who ever said that parenting was easy? Try to hold your child or rub his back to help him calm down. Tell him no in a firm but calm manner. You may warn your child that you will both go home or he will get a time out if he doesn’t calm down. If he doesn’t stop, you need to make sure you follow through with your threat.
- Don’t give in. The worst thing you can do is to cave in to your child’s demands. If he wants to buy another useless plastic toy even though he already has a hundred of it back home, be firm when you say no. If he starts the water works and you give in, you are teaching your child that his behavior is acceptable. Therefore, in the future, you can be sure to expect more of the same thing if it gets him results.
- Leave. If your child has a full-blown meltdown, you may need to remove him from the environment. If it means having to leave your shopping cart full of stuff just when you are ready to check out, so be it. Don’t worry about the looks of censure on other people. Sure it’s embarrassing, but it’s not their kid so don’t mind them. If ever, you may want to ask a store personnel to set aside your cart and go outside the store and see if your child calms down. If he sees you mean business, he may stop.
Try these techniques to deal with your child when he starts having a
meltdown. The moment can drive you crazy, but when you get past it,
you’ll feel like the smartest and best parent in the world, and your
child will once again be the bundle of joy that he is.