Normal Toddler Melt Down:
When Your Normal Toddler Melt Down: It’s inevitable that, as you raise your toddler, he or she will have at least one meltdown that feels like the end of the world as you know it.
In fact, every parent experiences these minor tantrums in some way or another. However, there are ways to minimize these fits and keep things from getting out of hand.
Here are five tips to help you survive your toddler’s normal meltdowns.
1) Who is Affected?
Anyone who has a toddler. Unfortunately, even one-year-olds can have meltdowns. In fact, according to Dr. Ross Greene, an expert on childhood anxiety disorders and author of The Explosive Child:
A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children, by age three more than half of children experience some kind of extreme tantrum at least once a week.
It can be difficult watching your child suffer through a meltdown—especially when they’re screaming at you! But they’ll get better with age and there are things you can do now to help them learn how handle these outbursts in healthy ways that won’t hurt their development down the road.
Here are five tips for surviving your toddler’s normal meltdowns. 1. Get Out Of The House (If Possible) If your child is having a full-blown meltdown over something relatively minor, like not getting his way or not being able to go outside right then, remove him from whatever situation he’s in.
Take him somewhere else where he can calm down (like his bedroom or playroom). This will give him time to calm himself without hurting anyone else or causing any property damage.
Once he calms down enough to be rational again, talk about what happened and why it upset him so much. Remember: it’s okay if you don’t understand why something upset him so much–just try talking about it anyway until he feels like explaining himself more clearly (he may need time to think about what happened).
2) What Causes Toddlers To Have Meltdowns?
Understanding how and why toddlers have meltdowns can help you work through them as quickly as possible, which is often your best bet for helping everyone (including yourself) deal with a meltdown effectively. It’s easy to get frustrated during a meltdown but it’s important not to lose control in response.
Instead, try to stay calm so that you can understand what might be causing your toddler’s tantrum and how you can help her move through it more quickly.
The most common triggers for tantrums include: hunger or tiredness, frustration over not being able to communicate thoughts or desires clearly, discomfort from pain or illness, anger about losing something or over something unfair (like having a toy taken away), sensory overload from too much noise or activity.
Being aware of these triggers can help you respond better when they occur. For example, if your child starts throwing toys after playing at an indoor play center for a few hours, take him outside to let him run around and burn off some energy before returning home.
If he has been sick recently, make sure he gets plenty of rest when he needs it. If he seems hungry or tired, feed him or put him down for a nap immediately.
And if he gets angry because his favorite toy was taken away by another child? Let him know you’ll give it back once things settle down—and then do just that!
3) Not Managing Stress Can Trigger a Tantrum
When Your Normal Toddler Melt Down: Most children are naturally predisposed to tantrums. The average age for a child’s first fit is 2.3 years, which coincides with an increase in sensitivity and developing egocentrism.
In other words, your toddler’s tantrums may have less to do with bad behavior than circumstances outside of her control.
Research shows that stress at home — like being overtired or dealing with a food allergy — increases a child’s odds of having a meltdown by more than 50 percent over what they would experience in normal conditions; even worse, severe tantrums can double as a coping mechanism when kids feel anxious or upset.
The best way to deal? Stay calm yourself and don’t take it personally. You’re not alone: According to one study, 70 percent of parents said their toddlers had a meltdown every day.
And according to research from Yale University, most parents think their kids’ fits are mild and normal. But don’t worry too much:
Tantrums will eventually stop (usually around age four). Until then, try these tips on how to help your kid through his next bout of angst-fueled hysteria.
4) Signs of Stress
When Your Normal Toddler Melt Down: Signs of stress can be hard to pick up on at first. It’s not like your toddler is going to come right out and tell you he or she is stressed, but knowing what signs might indicate it can help you react quickly when a meltdown does occur.
A lack of appetite, unexplained sleepiness or irritability can all be symptoms that your toddler has more on his or her plate than usual. And if your child seems unusually clingy, it could mean that he or she needs some extra reassurance and love.
If you notice any of these signs, try to make sure your toddler gets plenty of exercise and take time for quiet playtime together. When possible, avoid scheduling too many activities in one day.
And always keep a sense of humor! When your toddler melts down over something small (like being told no), don’t let yourself get frustrated—it isn’t worth risking an even bigger meltdown. Instead, just remind yourself that you are both feeling overwhelmed by life sometimes and move on with your day.
5) How To Tell If It Is A Tantrum or Something Else
When Your Normal Toddler Melt Down: Separation anxiety, which is common in toddlers, often leads to meltdowns when your child begins to understand that you won’t be there every second of every day.
The most important thing you can do is help your toddler feel as safe and secure as possible. Acknowledge his feelings:
Remember, even if he seems irrational or out of control, chances are good that he is not able to communicate that effectively at his age.
Call a timeout and tell him what is happening so he knows you are on his side—even if you’re about to deliver some discipline:
You had a hard time waiting for daddy. We need to calm down now. I will sit with you until we both feel better. Then, give him space:
Tell him that it’s okay to cry but then let him know that he needs to stay where you put him (in his room, for example).
Letting go doesn’t mean ignoring his behavior; it means giving yourself and your child space while still being close by in case things get worse before they get better.
It also helps to give yourself a little breathing room between meltdowns by limiting overstimulation before they happen:
If bedtime has been particularly stressful lately, skip playing games or watching TV right before bedtime; instead spend some quiet time together reading books or listening to music.