The Meltdown Monster… Sometimes you can see it coming from a mile away.
*cue Jaws theme song*
Your kid has been playing at the trampoline park for 2 hours…
without a water or snack break…
[duh dun duh dun]
and you’re about to tell them that it’s time for the fun to come to an end.
[duh-dun duh-dun duh-dun duh-dun]
*cue full-on toddler meltdown*
If you’re lucky, you’re able to head it off before it starts… but let’s be real, we’ve all had those moments where we have to carry a kid out kicking and screaming so loud that ALL eyes are on you.
I’m not the only one with that lovely experience, right?
I’ll never forget the first time it happened. It was right before my oldest child’s second birthday. I had taken cupcakes to his preschool to celebrate his birthday. I had made the mistake of letting him have two cupcakes….
Okay, you can laugh. I laugh about it now. Such a rookie mistake.
I can honestly say I have never made that mistake again. The memories of the flailing, screaming, sugar-crashing toddler that my pregnant self had to wrestle out of the grocery store, providing a theatrical presentation to ALLLL the other patrons in the store an hour later is seared into my brain to make sure of it.
We’ve talked in this post about managing your own emotions. Now let’s talk about some ways to manage the meltdown monster called your child.
Let’s start with identifying their triggers. Have you already noticed that every time you do _______[fill in the blank]_____ your child ends up having a meltdown? If so, congratulations! You’ve found a trigger. There are some triggers that are pretty obvious [ahem, like having a sugar crash after eating two cupcakes] but others may be a little harder to identify. If your child is having meltdowns often and you’re not always sure what the cause is, start a journal to record the events leading up to the meltdown and see if you can find commonalities. What was happening in the hours leading up to the meltdown? Were they hungry? Were they thirsty? Were they tired? Were they overstimulated? When you begin to record everything that happened leading up to the meltdown, you can begin to see patterns and learn what specific triggers your child has. Once you know your child’s triggers, you can make an effort to head it off before it starts.
If the meltdown monster always comes out at 4:00 when you’re starting to cook dinner (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything….) it may be that they’re hungry and need an option of a healthy snack that will curb their hunger without ruining their dinner. If your meltdown monster comes out every time the weather is bad and she can’t play outside, it may be that she needs some gross motor/high energy activities that she can do inside to burn up some energy. If your meltdown monster comes out every time you are out-and-about the whole day, it may be that he needs a slower schedule and can’t handle as many activities back to back.
Alright, let’s hear it. What’s your most embarrassing “dragged my kid out of a store kicking and screaming” story?
P.S. Before you go!
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