Wellness Wednesday: What To Do When Your Child Has a Meltdown
This is an incredibly busy time of year for both parents and children. Between work and school and extracurricular activities and establishing routines, everyone in the household might be feeling stressed or on edge.
So what do we do when our child has a meltdown? Not just a little whining, but full-on temper tantrums?
Kids have big emotions that they can’t control. These outbursts and tantrums are called emotional dysregulation, according to Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Hospital.
English gives some tips on how to help your child work through tantrums when they happen, and to help emotionally prepare them for next time.
“Teach kids to notice their emotions,” English advises.
In the moment of a tantrum, if children are able to identify how they’re feeling, they’ve already taken a big step for the future. Children who do this are better prepared to recognize and gain control of their feelings the next time a tantrum might happen.
English says that it’s also important for parents to make sure that their children know that feelings are important. This is validating and helps children recognize feelings in general, and builds crucial problem-solving skills for next time.
If your child’s bad behavior is minor, it’s easier to ignore and let children work through minor problems on their own. But when your child is doing something positive, no matter how small, give them extra attention and praise to signal that they’re doing the right thing.
Sometimes, moving from one activity to another can cause tantrums, especially if your child is enjoying their current activity. English advises giving children notice or a heads up in advance before you start moving on to a new task so they have time to prepare. Additionally, give children choices on what to do next, so they feel more empowered.
English says that no matter what, it’s important every day to set time aside for your child. By playing together every day, even on bad days, you let your children know that you love them.