If you are a parent, you probably have experience a time in which your child had a full blown meltdown. To you it may have seem like something super small; however, by your child’s reaction it was something extremely major.
Your child’s melt down is a results of many things including a limited vocabulary because in order to have self-control you have to understand and manage your emotions, thoughts, and physical actions. So, with a limited vocabulary and a brain which has not been fully developed, it easier to understand why a child goes into meltdown mode. It is a normal part of growing up.
So, what are some things you can do to help your child the next time…
1 – Stay calm yourself. Your child needs you to be calm as stress is contagious. You don’t want your child to feed off of your stress. Take a few deep breathes and say to yourself “we will get through this and I will be able to help my child.”
2 – Redirect them. This may be done in a number of ways. You may consider a distraction to draw your child’s attention away from the meltdown. Another way to redirect them is to suggest moving to a quieter areas such as the car if you are in the store. Make sure with either of these suggestions that you remain calm with your voice as well as your body language. Staying calm with your body language and tone of voice is essential as your child’s vocabulary is growing.
Think of your child’s vocabulary this way: the average 2 year old’s vocabulary is 200 to 300 words, a 3 year old is 900 to 1,000, a first grader has approximately 8,000 to 14,000, a ten year old knows at least 20,000 words, and a high school graduate upwards to 80,000. In fact, research suggest your vocabulary continues to build well into your 60s and 70s.
3 – Listen to your child and continue to remain patient. If your child is old enough to communicate, lend two ears. Be cautious of arguing with your child. You don’t have to give in; however, at the same time you want to deescalate the situation rather than escalating it. Tell them you are listening and speak slowly and quietly adding a calming affect to the stress your child is experience.
Learning to handle these meltdowns in a patient and calming way will help your child learn how to manage their emotions as they grow older and have a larger vocabulary and a faster brain processing speed. Children will model a parent’s behavior and when parents demonstrate good control of their emotions during stressful times, their children will learn manage their emotions as well during stressful times.
As always, be kind to yourself. It is not easy being a parent and I am sure most parents experience regret about decisions they have made or how they handle a situation. Remember, life is a journey. Learn from your experiences and make sure you child sees you learning and growing stronger; physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.
So other parents can learn, please share a time when you felt your handled your child’s meltdown really well. We are all in this together. Learning to become better parents every day.