5 Ways to Manage Your Child's Meltdown
Nov 7, 2012 (updated Aug 6, 2014)
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Whether your child has ADHD, or is just exhibiting typical childish behavior, you're probably going to face a public meltdown at some point. Use these five tips to bring your child--and yourself--back to normal quickly.
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Stop and drop
Kids who are in the midst of a meltdown have a hard enough time calming down, but you can make it easier on them and you if you make yourself eye level. It's a pose that signals that you are on their side, and that you want to hear what they have to say, and it also expresses a sense of cooperation.
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Be their example
It's hard to expect a six-year-old to control their temper and frustration if you can't manage your own anxiety about their tantrum. Nobody likes it when their child makes a scene in public, or disturbs others, but don't let their meltdown spur yours! Instead, practice what you preach: try to let your own frustration go and focus on bringing your attention back to just the two of you.
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Lower your voice
Your real feelings come through in your tone of voice, so it can be worthwhile to try to speak quietly to a screaming child. Ideally, it can help catch their attention, particularly if you're saying something they want to hear. Instead of reprimanding immediately, try finding a way to voice what you think may be frustrating them.
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Use your instincts
As a parent you know better than anyone what type of situations are most likely to set your child off. Highly-stimulating environments such as shopping malls or other loud, bright places can be hard for oversensitive kids, while others may react badly to hour after hour of "no." Certainly tantrums should not be considered an acceptable way of dealing with frustration, but knowing your child's triggers may help you avoid a meltdown before it starts.
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Test your skills at home
See if you can come up with a few alternative ways to get through to your child when you're in the predictable home environment. Not everything you try will work--at least not every time--but if you've practiced at home you and your child will know better what to expect.