I don’t want to make assumptions here, but let’s just pretend for a second that your kids lose their absolute minds on occasion, like mine do.
Thankfully, my children tend to save the drama for their mama, which means the rest of the world is usually spared from the epic meltdowns we experience at home. It is not uncommon for us to get compliments on how well-behaved and kind Harlyn is, and then we get home and are in the depths of H#%@ 30 minutes later. And once one kid starts, the other is sure to join in. Two kids crying simultaneously and this mom is ready to go hide in the bathroom and cry herself. But I need to get back to the point, eh?
OK. SO. This post is some advice and a lot of me asking for your best tips. PLEASE, OH PLEASE, let me know if you are a Preschooler Whisperer and have it figured out.
1.Give them rest.
I find that being tired is the NUMBER ONE reason my kids go insane. So we try really hard to make sure that Maverick naps (even if it’s just in the car), and that Harlyn takes some quiet time. Side note here: Harlyn naps on weekdays, but she does not nap on weekends. So on weekends, she does quiet time. She will relax with TV or her Ipad or even just play quietly by herself in her room. She just needs this time to reset. This helps with the number of breakdowns, but obviously they can still happen, even if both kids nap/rest.
Too late for prevention and in the throes of a tantrum?
2. Change the scenery.
This is honestly our secret weapon. If Harlyn is mid-meltdown and can’t be reasoned with, we will come up with some way to remove her from the situation. We will find ways to go outside (check the mail, water the plants) and invite her along. If Maverick is inconsolable, out to the back patio we go for a few minutes in his swing or just to let him crawl around on the rug. I don’t know why this works, but it’s like they forget being upset when they leave the premises. ALSO: When it’s really bad and both kids are miserable and we all four wonder how we’ll make it to bedtime, we pile in the van. We don’t know where we’re even going…but we leave. the. house. Usually it’s a quick Target jaunt or a random errand. We aren’t even opposed to just driving around. It’s so funny, because we use to think, we can’t possibly leave when the kids are being little monsters! We are stuck here if they don’t improve their behavior! But now we know better. There’s no better cure for tiny-human insanity than getting out of the house.
3. Hug/Reassure/Love Them
We used to be all like, “get yourself together and THEN we will talk to you!!!!” and stern and strict when Harlyn would be having a moment. We thought that we had to do what ‘they’ say to do…ignore them/the behavior completely until the kid calms down. But then we FINALLY learned something about our daughter. This does NOT help her. In fact, it makes things a million times worse and the meltdown last to infinity (and beyond!). So…whoever the calmer parent is at the time will take Harlyn aside and hug her/hold her/talk calmly to her. She needs to be reassured and loved to recover from her breakdowns. We could continue to try to be strict, or we could save everyone frustration and heartache and just give her what she really needs…a few minutes of cuddles from an understanding parent. We don’t really know what Maverick will need yet, as we are not quite to the tantrum stage. We shall see 😉
4. Time Out
We still resort to the tried and true time out when necessary. This weekend we had to put Harlyn in a time out when there was just nothing left to do. She spends most of it at her doorway screaming bloody murder, but you know, we still try. Eventually Harlyn will kinda-sorta calm down enough to yell that she is ready for us, and then from there we go to #3 above.
Okay…now your turn!! What do you do for meltdowns in the young toddler or preschool stage?! I definitely need some age-appropriate suggestions for Maverick! He gets so mad when he doesn’t get what he wants, but I can’t quite talk him through it or send him to his room 😉