Updated: Feb 26
Tantrums, meltdowns, freak outs, fits... Whatever you call them they are disruptive. They can make us fear our children, embarrass us in public and cause us to lose our cool! And just when you feel like you made it through the terrible twos or maybe the trying threes... they seem to rear their ugly head again and you find yourself googling "tantrums at 7" wondering if the internet has come up with a cute name for that... Older kids and yes even teens still have them, yet we tend to call them by other names like melt downs or "she's loosing her sh*t again..." And some of us are lucky enough to have more sensitive, high needs kids who have them with more frequency than we expect at their age. Through my work with kids in the classroom, at camp and in my house (the grocery store, grandma's house, restaurants, their sibling's choir concert, the car dealership...) I have come up with a little cheat sheet of ideas that are my go to secret weapons for these moments.
1. Validate, even out your voice and remove them:
"I'm so sorry that the rain is too dry for you. Your crying is hurting my ears. Please sit on this step (spot, bed, room, corner, couch...) until you are all done crying and then we can talk about it."
2. Ignore, ignore and then keep ignoring:
Pretend to put your "invisibility cloak"on and go about your business. Only talk to them again when the screaming turns to sniffles.
3. Broken record (when I taught this to camp counselors and young teaching assistants, they didn't know what I meant by this🤪):
Repeat with no emotion, "I'll talk to you when you are calm, I'll talk to you when you are calm, I'll talk to you when you are calm." Do not mix it up, do not raise your voice, do not engage in a power struggle.
"Are those new shoes you're wearing?"
"Remind me, how many states in the USA again? Which ones were original colonies?"
"Tell me that funny story about your new puppy again!"
5. Plan ahead, set expectations!
What are you go to moves?
For more frank(i) discussion on behavior check out my 12 minute webinar: