Even adults struggle with handling emotions from time to time, so why do we get so frustrated when kids handle their emotions poorly in the form of a 4 alarm-emergency, all-hands-on-deck meltdown?
Meltdowns happen for many different reasons– but it all boils down to communication, understanding, energy level, hunger level, and coping for a child. If you have the magic potion to end meltdowns all together, please email us!
In the meantime, here are 7 proven coping strategies that help children handle their emotions more effectively when they are upset.
Don’t give in to Meltdowns
If you give in to meltdowns, children will learn they can get what they want by exhibiting this behavior, and will not learn to deal with the emotions they are feeling.
Teach Self –Calming Strategies/Relaxation Tips when your child is upset. Here are some strategies for teaching your child to calm down.
Kid Tips For Calming Down
1. The Balloon
Have your child hold his hands in front of his mouth like holding a small balloon. Tell your child to blow up the balloon. As he blows, he spreads his hands apart to pretend the balloon is getting bigger. Once the balloon is as big as it can get, your child claps his hands together to “pop” the balloon.
2. The Pretzel
Have your child fold herself into a pretzel and squeeze. Have her wrap her legs together and fold her arms across her chest like she’s hugging herself. When she is as twisted as she can possibly get, have her squeeze hard.
3. Take a Walk
Have your child take a walk to cool off. Sometimes just walking around a bit can help.
4. The Bunny
Have your child pretend to be a bunny. He can get down on the ground like a bunny or just sit on his bottom. Have him breathe like a bunny does in short, quick breaths. Don’t let your child do this too long or he might get dizzy! A little bit of shallow breathing can bring his breathing back under his control. Follow this up with some long deep breaths, like hissing like a snake or blowing out candles.
5. Count or Sing the ABCs
Have your child count as high as he can or sing/say the alphabet. Many times this is enough to bring the breathing back under control to quell the tantrum.
6. Hug a Pillow/Stuffed Animal
Have your child pick a pillow or stuffed animal to hug. Tell her to squeeze it hard so she can get all of that upset out. She could also tell her stuffed animal why she’s upset.
7. Teaching Calm vs. Upset
This understanding can be helpful when talking about your child’s feelings. In order for your child to be calm, they must understand what that means and looks like. Providing examples can help!
– Carrie Ravine, SLP