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  • 3 Things To Do When Your Child Has A Meltdown

    First, take note that there is a difference between tantrums and meltdowns.
    by Kate Borbon .
3 Things To Do When Your Child Has A Meltdown
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Kids spend their first years of life learning everything from words and numbers to how to do simple everyday tasks to how to rein in their emotions. Still, they often struggle to control their feelings. This can then result in outbursts and meltdowns that leave parents at a loss with what to do.

    What is a meltdown?

    In a previous SmartParenting.com.ph, we learned that tantrums and meltdowns are two different things: While tantrums are typically a child’s way of acting out to get what she wants, meltdowns are a result of her getting overwhelmed and being unable to deal with it.

    A child who is having a meltdown might do things that are commonly associated with tantrums, like cryingyelling, or lashing out, but she might also exhibit behaviors like running away, withdrawing, or shutting down completely. Tantrums can also turn into meltdowns later on. (Click here to learn more.)

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    What to do when your child has a meltdown

    1. Help her make sense of the situation.

    When a child is in the middle of a meltdown, she might feel like she is about to explode due to all of her big feelings. One step to helping her make sense of those emotions is to reflect them to her. You can say something like, “You’re so sad right now and you don’t even know why. It’s okay. I’ll stay with you until it passes. Don’t worry, we have plenty of time.”

    According to PsychAlive, doing this will communicate to your child that you are not threatened or upset by her big feelings and that you are ready to help her until she’s okay again.

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    2. Model a self-calming exercise.

    Do you have a way of calming yourself down when you’re feeling stressed? This is a great opportunity to model it to your child. Another method you can try is a simple breathing exercise: Breathe in slowly over five seconds, then exhale slowly over another five seconds. Repeat this as often as your child needs to.

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    3. Consider distracting her.

    Once you find that your child is already starting to calm down, providing her with a distraction can help calm her down even further. Aside from taking her for a walk or giving her a nice toy, you can also try sharing a story about a time you needed to calm yourself down.

    “Because shame can so easily be associated with meltdowns, your personal vignette might also convey the humble truth that everyone needs to work on self-calming sometimes,” ParentMap writes.

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