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4 Strategies to Deal with Your Child’s Epic Meltdown

My son, like many children, has a tough time making the transition from one routine to another. Shifting from school to summer always takes time in our house.

Recently, our son started camp.  The first week met us with many meltdowns and one epic meltdown.

As a new, inexperienced Mom, I used to be shocked when these epic meltdowns would happen. They were so unbelievable, I would look around me wondering if I was being videotaped to gauge my reaction.  

It was unlike anything I had experienced.  

I quickly came to realize meltdowns were usually the result of a very tired child, and once I understood that, I learned how to manage them. 

They’re still no fun but I have found these strategies to be hugely effective in dealing with my child’s epic meltdowns: 

  1. Meet them where they are. They’re exhausted.  They’ve been physically active all day, toeing the line, listening, and behaving.  They’re releasing their frustrations and it really has nothing to do with you. 

  2. Be in it with them. Stop what you’re doing. Put down your phone and resist the urge to move on to the next task. Be there. Be physically there.  Listen. Don’t respond or react.  Just be there and allow them to get it out. 

  3. Demonstrate empathy and kindness. It’s tough to be a kid and have no control over anything in your life.   Control is really what this is all about.  Continuing to try to control them will just escalate the situation.  Instead, tell them you understand and that it’s ok to feel angry or frustrated (as long as they aren’t hurting anyone).

  4. Hug it out. Once they appear to have exhausted themselves, offer to hug it out. This strategy seems so counter-intuitive but it works!  When I’m at the end of my rope, hugging it out is the last thing I want to do but when I offer it, he almost always takes it.  He immediately melts in my arms, and we go from all-out fury to absolute connection.

These are trying moments.  It takes an enormous amount of restraint and patience to practice this approach but it’s worth it.  

It doesn’t mean you give in to your child. Instead, you’re holding your ground while setting the example for how to deal with anger and frustration.  

What strategies do you have to deal with your child’s epic meltdown?  I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.

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