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!