Talking about Meltdowns with Preschoolers
Every parent faces the situation of temper tantrums; the child screaming, getting cranky, tired and whiny. This can even happen at public places. As a parent, you will have to master the art of handling such situations in private and public to make your child learn what’s acceptable and what’s not.
Most parents consult psychologists or consultants for children’s meltdown and emotional outbursts. Tantrums and meltdowns are indeed one of the biggest challenges for every parent. It so happens that parents cannot understand, prevent or respond effectively to emotional outbursts. As it becomes more regular, both the parent and the child get confused on how to overcome such situations. Most preschoolers are not masters of modulating emotions; which is one of the reasons for their meltdowns. They are just learning the ways of the world, and as they come in contact with other children their own perspectives change.
Tantrums are most often a result of the frustration that the child faces. Preschoolers are learning the language and most of the times they might understand what you say but they will not find the right words to express what they want to say. You might have seen them confused between words like ‘broke’ and ‘tore’; your child may not understand that a paper cannot break. When a child throws a tantrum, it is an outburst of the stress he is going through. At this age, he will not be able to learn to be patient and compassionate but you will have to reassure to him that you will take care of all his worries. You will have to repeatedly reaffirm with words and deeds that you are there for him everywhere.
What You Should Do
In situations like this you will have to effectively manage your child’s behaviour and here are a few tips to help you –
1. Keep Your Calm
You can start by acknowledging your child’s problem – it could be tiredness, boredom, frustration or loneliness. Talk to him about the problem and make your point. Always make sure you make a deal that sounds suitable to him.
2. Do Not Reward
You have to abstain from giving too much attention to your child’s tantrums; this may be difficult but you have to be assertive. You should not reward him every time there is a meltdown, this will prevent his learning.
3. Take A Step Back
Sometimes leaving the spot is the best thing you can do. It helps you to cool off before you say something wrong. It also gives some time to the child to understand his mistake. Remember, yelling will never work in such situations.
Tantrums cannot be prevented completely but you can start by rewarding positive and good behaviour. Acknowledge your child every time you feel he has made an effort. You need to understand that tantrums are a game of power struggle between you and your child, but as a parent you have complete freedom to use the power. Make sure you use it well.