Manage Toddler Meltdowns with These 6 Steps
posted by: Mile High Mamas
Especially for toddlers, emotional meltdowns are inevitable. So, rather than trying to prevent them, it’s best to focus on some practical ways to manage tantrums, as they can be helpful to children learning to express their feelings and how to handle big emotions. Here are six tips for managing toddler meltdowns.
- Understand the Why Behind the Meltdown
Processing the reason behind your child’s tantrum is key to managing your way through it with him or her. As a child’s social and emotional skills are in the early stages of development at this age, he or she won’t often know the words needed to express such big emotions. Whether they are merely hungry, tired, upset because they are not being rewarded with something they desire, or even unsure of the current environment, they are ultimately just reacting in the emotional capacity for which they know or understand at this stage of development.
- Check Your Own Emotions
Toddler meltdowns will test your patience. You’ll experience your own waves of emotions, which will determine your reaction, so it’s very important that you remain calm and parent on. While it may be a gut reaction to respond in anger, frustration, or discipline, a helpful tactic can be to take a breath and approach the situation with a calm and level head.
- Observe Environmental Triggers
Noticing meltdowns happening in specific places or settings? A helpful way to manage a potential meltdown is to prepare ahead for the environment. A helpful tip for trigger environments is to plan a strategy for distracting your child from the temptation for desiring things that you might not want them to have.
- Meet Them on Their Level
In the midst of a meltdown, one of the best ways to encourage a child is by meeting them on their level with a calm assurance that you understand their emotions and that you’re aware of his or her feelings. As they begin to calm down, it’s always helpful to talk with them about what’s going on, why they are upset, and how they could have acted differently.
- Take Control When Needed
We get it—talking through a child’s feelings with them or ignoring a tantrum altogether won’t always work. There will be times when you have to make a decision to take charge when a meltdown gets out of control—especially in a public setting. All in all, use your best judgment and stand firm.
- Have a Consistent Strategy
Like anything, consistency is key when it comes to managing toddler tantrums. If you surrender by just giving the child what they want in order to appease the meltdown, the problem could continue. However, staying consistent in your approach and focusing on a calm approach will go a long way in helping your child learn how to behave and to respect parental authority.
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