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How to Deal With a Toddler Meltdown


If you have toddlers, you know that meltdowns are going to happen. Actually they have happened quite a lot with us. You may recall that one time where Madison had that amazing meltdown in Victoria's Secret and you might have thought that I learned my lesson. Oh no! While they are not as frequent as they used to be they are still there. There are some triggers that each child has. Knowing these triggers and understanding what causes them can help us parents deal with toddler meltdowns. We can’t eliminate them, but we can hopefully lessen their frequency and help them to abate sooner.


Check for Obvious Causes

Toddlers are still learning how to deal with life. They don’t always know the words to express their emotions. When a toddler starts to meltdown and throw a tantrum, don’t assume that they are just being bad. Check for all the obvious causes first. Are they tired? Has it been a while since they ate? Do they need a diaper change or a restroom stop? Once you have ruled out the obvious, then it’s time to figure out what else is causing this behavior.

 Practice Shopping to Teach Expectations

If you take a child into a store, they will see things they want. It’s an inevitable part of shopping with small children. Practice the shopping experience at home so your toddler will understand your expectations. You may want to set up a play store and role play the experience. Also don't expect to take your toddler to a toy store and leave empty handed. You'd probably have a meltdown of your own if that happened to you as well.

Don’t Escalate the Situation

When you are out in public and your toddler starts to act out, don’t be embarrassed. Don’t yell back. Keep your voice calm and don’t escalate the situation. Many times it’s best to leave the situation and let your child calm down before you return to finish shopping or your outing with friends/family. 

Trust Your Instincts

Parents are usually the best judge of their children. If you know your child has a fear of strangers, large crowds or new situations, plan ahead so you can hopefully avoid a major situation. When you see your child start to get agitated and you know a meltdown is coming, do what you can to help them through the experience – even if it means changing your family plans. Toddlers are going to have meltdowns. It’s an inevitable part of growing up. But as parents, we can help make these experiences a little less traumatic for everyone involved.

Got any tips to dealing with these outbreaks? I’d love to hear!

Annmarie John
32 Comments
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32 comments:

  1. Ignore, Ignore, Ignore. You probably know that y 7 year old STILL has them regularly (today at brunch as a matter of fact) and I just ignore him. Sometimes it takes him a while, but he comes around eventually.

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    1. I'm glad my 7 year old is not the only one with meltdowns!

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  2. I agree with the above comment. I always ignore mine and she seems to quit. Amber N

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  3. When we walk into a store I warn my girls... We are not getting anything such as toys or candy. In addition, when the meltdown happens I will stop, look at them (or more so my little one), and ask .. Are you done.. she will look up at me and say.. yes.. It can be tough.. I think I got an easy kid.

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  4. I make sure my daughter is okay and then let her get it out. I find that she calms down better on her own than by my trying.

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  5. I try to avoid going out too close to lunch time or nap time...even too late in the evening. Hungry or tired kids makes for a miserable shopping experience.

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  6. Great parenting advice. Meltdowns are always the worst. I know a lot of people who would benefit from this post. I'm gonna share. LOL

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  7. This is great!! It's so true. When we had out to the store I tell Jaiden don't even think about asking for anything because it won't happen. Some great tips you have! Thank you for sharing!

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  8. I remember these times well. I had my own two children and also raised my niece. With her I learned to get her away from whatever the situation was get her full attention, come down to her eye level and talk calmly but let her know it wasn't acceptable. It worked every time.

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  9. Helpful tips for moms with toddlers. They can be a handful sometimes.

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  10. My youngest used to hate grocery shopping so much that some days he would just scream about nothing at all while I tried to shop. Once I started having him help me - put things in the bags, find our brand of crackers, whatever, he got a lot better. That tactic also works if they're anxious for dinner or breakfast; enlist their assistance. Also, don't try to negotiate in the middle of a tantrum. It will just frustrate both of you. Sometimes toddlers just need to vent their frustration.

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  11. These are great tips! I like the one about not escalating the situation. I see that a lot. Just yesterday I witnessed a mom with a little boy having a fit. She was screaming at him about what a bad boy and horrible little brat he was. I just don't see how that's helpful.

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  12. My son has had meltdowns in public, and we try to patiently deal with him. Lately, though, his issue is he wants to be the center of attention and just goes nuts when we're in larger groups of people. Still trying to figure out how to deal with that! Sometimes we just need him to be quiet (not for long periods. That's unrealistic, and I totally know that!)

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  13. I have had these with my niece in the store. I remember one time we went to Target and she wanted a Barbie doll and I told her she couldn't have it then, she threw herself on the floor and started screaming. I was so embarrassed. I wanted to leave her there and pretend she didn't belong to me. A kind old lady actually bought the doll for her but now I know better to take her into Target in the toy section. :)

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  14. Keeping calm is definitely the right way to deal with. Kids are so sensitive to our emotions. I agree about avoiding situations that can set them off!

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  15. Making sure your kids have eaten and aren't too tired or stressed is a great way to prevent meltdowns, or to stop them in their tracks. My kids were known to get cranky when they were hungry.

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  16. My kids really only had a couple of big-time meltdowns that I remember - although all these years later, I've probably managed to block them out!

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  17. I have a two year old and I am trying to learn how to deal with them. It is not so easy!

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  18. Great advice I agree with all! Especially the don't escalate! That is so important. When mine have a melt down it's usually for a reason so I figure it out and go from there! Usually it's because they are tired :/

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  19. My oldest son went through the horrific threes. They are a blur now but I know that we did ignore some of it. Some of it with him was due to some serious health issues. He just never felt well. I do know that it was not easy.

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  20. All very good tips! I've only had a few meltdowns (in public). Each time there were signs that I ignored. One is don't bring your child out when they are due for a nap. The other one is don't bring your child to buy a present for his friend's birthday party if you don't also plan on buying him a toy lol Lesson learned!

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  21. Keeping calm is the way to go. I try my best to ignore, I just feel bad for the people around. My son can put on quite a show.

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  22. Very helpful tips. I can usually anticipate a meltdown. My girls each have a pattern... it's like watching Alice fall into the rabbit hole. I can predict almost to the minute when it will hit. So I try to buffer with distraction, snack, drink, snuggle time, etc.

    Have a great week my friend.
    xoxo

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  23. I have no tips yet since I don't have any kiddos. But I will now keep these in mind for when I do :P

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  24. Keeping calm is very important during a meltdown. Shouting at each other will worsen the things. Those are great tips

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  25. Thank you for this tips. I honestly can't remember what I did for each one of my girls as they are all teenagers or close to it. But I do remember that what worked with each child was different.

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  26. I work very hard to remember to keep my voice low and not yell. Partly, I think soft spoken is actually more attention getting, but also I don't want to worsen an already ongoing tantrum.

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  27. Kiddo is almost 10 and she still has meltdowns. These days they are few and far between with me because she has a pattern and I make sure to work around her pattern.

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  28. These are some great tips. I need to remember and use them the next time my kid loses it over not getting more cookies.

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  29. I think it's thoughtful that you included their perspective too...and noted the value in checking for reasons that could trigger a meltdown. Of my four, I only had one child who had them, and being calm worked like a charm. Sometimes like you said, we'd 'calmly' leave the store, lol

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  30. My Sons had melt downs a lot but luckily my 3 year old Daughter doesn't, sheeeeew :)

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  31. Ignoring my son was what worked best.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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