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how to remain calm during toddler meltdowns

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  • how to remain calm during toddler meltdowns

    HI - I am needing some tips from those out there with toddler experiences. My 19 mnth daughter sometimes has meltdowns, usually before bed. Not tantrums, but crying, very upset meltdowns. I often find them very stressful and find it difficult to feel as ease with them. I hold her, provide a calm voice and reassurance and validation. Yet, I feel stressed and my body is tense and I don't know if I am conveying as much peace as I would like. I feel almost frustrated that it is happening because I feel helpless to alter it for her, when I know this is what she needs to do at the time.

    Advice would be so appreciated. THANK YOU.

  • #2
    Can you distance yourself from her for a few minutes? I don't mean isolating her somewhere, as in a punitive manner, but just give her some space to have her feelings for a little bit before you get close with her & try to calm her down. Toddlers have such strong emotions, they feel such BIG feelings, and it is perfectly natural for them to come out like that, in "meltdown" form.

    My daughter used to do this, at exactly your daughter's age, too, and I needed some time to center myself before I went to her to try to calm her down. I found that I was trying to stop the outburst (because, let's face it, it's not exactly a pleasant experience for anyone!), but what she really needed was to get out those BIG feelings before she was ready to calm down.

    As soon as I realized that she was headed for a meltdown, and there was nothing I could do to stop it, I would busy myself with other things for a few minutes. I would pick up the house a little, get some dishes done, etc. all while she was within sight of me. I would check in with her often, asking if she needed a hug. For the first minute or two, she'd yell "NO!" because she was still so upset about whatever had triggered the meltdown. But very quickly I could see her body physically relax, and she would say tearily, "OK," when I asked if I could give her a hug. Then I just let her finish crying in my arms without saying anything to her.

    I had to come to some level of acceptance that this was all she could do to relieve some emotional stress, that it was OK, and it was nothing personal. I just wonder if, at the start of a meltdown, you could give yourself a "mommy time-out" to give her a chance to do what her body seems to want to do...cry & de-stress...and you could find "your calm place" before you went to her to give her the comfort she needs?


    • #3
      thank you

      Thank you -brilliant idea! will do this. Very helpful and appreciated.


      • #4
        It sounds like you got some great advice. I thought these two articles might also be helpful.

        Tips for easier bedtimes:

        How to avoid tantrums:

        Since it sounds like it's pretty predictable, my suggestion would be to try to change the routine to avoid the meltdown so you don't have to deal with it after the fact. Perhaps start her bedtime routine a little earlier before she gets overtired, or provide a really soothing environment during that time with books, a warm bath (if that soothes her, some kids are overstimulated by baths at night).

        Sometimes little ones just really need to cry and feel cared about, too. Two of my little ones really liked it if I just held them and said, "Poor boy, poor boy..." over and over. I would also find a way to recharge yourself after the fact too, since it's taking a toll on you. I recommend hot baths and secret chocolate stashes. <G>

        Good luck!