This post is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
I always says that you’re not fully initiated into this parenting thing until you’ve peeled a screaming, flailing out-of-their-mind child off the floor of a store with shoes flying the whole way out to the car. You know the act. It’s as if your child’s bones have mysteriously disappeared and you’re wrestling a limp, manic noodle who suddenly has super human strength.
Anyone else been there?
Phew, glad that I’m not alone!
Meltdowns can be tough on everyone, but they’re a normal part of child development. Sometimes I feel like I’m about to have a meltdown when we’re in the midst of a tough one myself. Throughout the last few years, I’ve found a few things that have been so helpful to fend off and calm the meltdowns.
Know The Triggers
The easiest way to deal with a meltdown is to do the best you can to prevent them. Be aware of the triggers that can lead to undesired behavior and plan accordingly. If your kiddo loses his marbles when overtired, make sure to get a nap in before doing activities that may overload him and lead to tantrums. Loud noises and crowds bother your child? Try to schedule events early or later in the day when it’s not as busy or see if there are days/times for those with sensory sensitivities. Does a rumbling belly make your tot a terror? Make sure to always have snack options available!
Our favorite snack to have on hand in a pinch to prevent a tantrum is Goldfish crackers. Goldfish crackers are perfect to keep tucked away in the car or diaper bag, especially since they are easily stored. Baked with real cheese and no artificial flavors or preservatives, Goldfish crackers are a tantrum taming snack that mom can feel good about.
When I can see a mood turning sour, a handful of Goldfish crackers can be perfect for distracting and tiding us over until mealtime. The Goldfish Colors are a favorite and I love that the colors are sourced from plants (beet juice, watermelon, turmeric, huito, etc).
Pay attention to what leads to tantrums and take those factors into mind to see if there are ways that you can help prevent or ease your child’s apprehension/tantrums.
Take A Time Out (or Time In)
When you see that your child is on the road to meltdown city, take them out of the situation to give them a break to chill out. Some children fare better being by themselves for those moments to de-escalate and regroup, while some children may need a minute or two alone with a parent (time-in) to have them help them sort through their frustration and feelings.
Take a Breath
When children get aggravated they get hot, tense and start breathing harder, just like adults do when upset. Working with your child to take a deep breath when upset can help them learn to recognize the signs of losing it and deal with those feelings. With my son, we work on taking in a big deep breath (count to 4) and then release it slowly (counting 1, 2, 3, 4). It amazes me how this one little thing has been such a helpful little tool when dealing with tantrums and meltdowns.
An easy to remember mantra from Daniel Tiger: “When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four. 1, 2, 3, 4.”
Set Expectations (And Plan Accordingly)
Before we go into situations that we know may be tough for our kids, we always have a little chat to let them know what to expect and what we expect from them. For example, if going to a doctors appointment in which we know that we’ll have a wait, we talk about it and make sure to bring along some toys/activities for the kids to play with while waiting. This allows our children to go into the situation aware that they may have to be patient and wait. When running errands, we’ll let them know how many more stops and always make sure to bring lots of yummy snacks (like Goldfish crackers) to keep them happy and to hold off on any hangry outbursts.
Teach Children to Use Words
Teach children to use their words, instead of actions to convey what they need or want. Are toys being thrown or stomped on in anger when your child is having a hard time? Teach them to ask you for help or to verbalize what’s wrong. Teach them to say that that they need help or ask for something to be changed. While it seems like something obvious to us as adults, children need to be taught that it’s okay to ask for help and that can make a world of difference.
Sometimes all it takes to stop a tantrum is a good ol’ tickle fest, dance off or singing a silly tune. It breaks the tension and allows your kiddos mind to focus on something different while also allowing mom or dad to release a little stress too. Sometimes situations get built up into something huge and dire when they don’t need to be. A good laugh or letting off some silliness, can be one of the easiest (and most fun) ways for everyone to change their attitude.
Although those temper tantrums and meltdowns can be so exhausting at times, remember that they’re normal. Most importantly, praise the good behavior. It’s easy to focus on the negative and let it set the tone for the rest of the day, but these tantrums really are just a blip on your day. Once the tantrums subside, move on and praise the good behaviors.
For more fun ideas on how to add Goldfish cracker goodness into your parenting arsenal, check out their Pinterest page to learn more!
Are there any calming techniques that you find that work well for soothing your children?