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6 Tips for Managing Your Child's Meltdowns

It doesn’t matter if you’re the worst parent or parent of the year - your kid is going to have meltdowns. Here are 6 ways to cut your child’s tantrums off at the pass:

  1. Distract them. It’s extremely easy to distract kids because they have the attention span of a flea in heat. “Look at this ball/toy/color/etc.” Distractions work.  

  2. Be prepared. Whether you’re going to the store or sitting down for dinner, you can’t assume that a little person has the same patience with life that you do. When my son was little, I used to carry around a huge bag of arts, crafts, and little trucks and action figures. That way, when he was bored of something, a new thing was on the table. You can’t keep your children distracted if you don’t have any distractions available. That being said, you also have to accept that after a certain point, the distractions stop working.

  3. Give them choices. If your child is screaming about having only one cookie, ask, “Would you like one cookie or no cookie?” Or, “Would you like to watch the show or go to your room?” It’s really hard for a child to have a breakdown when he/she is contemplating his/her options.

  4. Teach them to meditate. When your child is not throwing a tantrum, sit on the floor together, cross your legs, put your hands on your knees, and listen to your breath. It’s fun for kids to do this with Mommy or Daddy. Then, the next time your child starts to get unglued, say, “Hey, let’s do that meditation.”

  5. Give them a warning. Warnings rarely work unless the warning leads to consequences, and the consequences are consistent. For example, “This is your one and only warning. If this continues, you won’t have _____.”

  6. Join them (and one up them). When I’m in the mall and see a kid screaming his/her brains out, I’ll walk up, give the parents a big smile, and go, “Waaaaaah!” The kid immediately stops, looks at me, and then continues screaming. I do it again - “Waaaaah!”. This time, the kid either stops and stares in silence or starts laughing. There is something about looking children right in the face and doing the same thing back to them that takes their power away. If you’re at home, you can really go crazy; get on the floor and pound your arms and legs. When your child sees you doing this, he/she is going to feel a little stupid.

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Tags: Motherhood-Fatherhood, Parenting, Stupid Things Parents Do to Mess Up Their Kids, Tips
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