Toddler meltdowns (or tantrums) are bound to happen. While they aren’t fun for anyone involved, they are a normal part of child development.
Meltdowns can happen for a number of reasons. Maybe your child’s routine was disrupted, or maybe they thought they could do something on their own and are just now finding out that is not the case. Whatever the trigger, there are ways to handle a meltdown that are proven to be effective while also ingraining long term good behavior.
The first piece of advice in the midst of the meltdown may be the hardest: stay calm. Getting your child to return to a state of calm is the goal, and you need to be a model citizen. Take deep breaths and keep your voice controlled and even.
Another helpful strategy is to identify what your child might need during the meltdown. This is something that our teachers at Tierra Encantada have mastered! Does the child need comfort? Assistance? A snack or a nap? Finding out the answer is usually half the battle, and once you know what’s needed things are likely to run smoothly.
To take it one step further, avoiding bad mood triggers- always having a snack on hand so your child doesn’t become overly hungry, noting when your child seems tired so you know you shouldn’t try to squeeze in that last errand- can be a proactive way to avoid meltdowns. When you feel a tantrum coming on, providing redirection is another helpful strategy. This could be in the form of a fidget toy, a book to look at and calm down with, a show to watch.
If the tantrum is happening because of a denial of something, stick with your original stance. It’s going to be hard, and you’ll likely be tempted to give in just to stop the meltdown, but that will only tell your little one that throwing the fit worked.
While toddler meltdowns are in some cases unavoidable, they can be manageable. Sticking to routines, staying calm and identifying your child’s needs can all contribute to a less troubling time for both you and your child. At Tierra Encantada, our staff does everything they can to help kids feel safe, heard and respected, especially in the midst of a meltdown.