Posts Tagged ‘meltdowns’

Parties, play dates, performances, oh my! 6 tips to help your child navigate a busy schedule without overwhelm, meltdowns, or tantrums

May 13th, 2013

It seems like this time of year there’s a party, play date, or performance almost daily. This can become an overwhelming time of year- especially if your child has a hard time transitioning or is very sensitive to their environment.

Here are 6 tips to help your child navigate this busy social time so there are less meltdowns, tantrums, or shutdowns.

  1. Pick and choose- As a parent make decisions that will be in the best interest of your child. You know if you run from a visit with your parents, then off to a theatre show your child is performing in, then to an after party with the cast members, your child may be “spent”, and that’s often when behaviors deteriorate. Limit the number of activities, and model to your child that saying “no, thank you” is perfectly acceptable.
  2. Prepare- Pick out clothes in advance, plan snacks or meals for the day, decide how long you will attend these events and how you (and your parenting partner) will respond if your child wants to stay longer.
  3. Let your child know the plan up front- Be clear on the plans for the day, expectations, the length of the visit, and if there is a concern about your child’s behavior be clear on what will happen if they become upset or act out (and then follow through on what you said you would do). If they easily become overstimulated create a word or signal that you both can use to remind your child to take a break from the activity they are doing. Reward good behavior with something meaningful and simple, such as letting your child stay longer at an activity or choose the story to read at bedtime.
  4. Don’t forget to eat and drink- I know this is so simple, but how easy it is to forget especially when we are so busy and engaged in an activity. Plan for snacks, meals and water breaks so your child’s blood sugar doesn’t drop or they don’t become dehydrated, which can lead to meltdowns.
  5. Teach your child how to self-soothe and self-regulate- When your child’s behaviors start to become regressive you know they are about to have a meltdown. Step in and help them learn how to self-calm. Head outside and go for a 5-min walk, smell and look at flowers, name the birds, look for bugs. Use your car as a “relaxation station” in -between traveling to different places. Spray calming scents like lavender or chamomile, have a bag of books, crayons and paper, (no mess) modeling clay, and soft snuggly pillows, and turn on some chill tunes. Teach your child how to take restorative mini breaks throughout the day.
  6. Encourage an art break- Use art to help your child calm and reflect on their day. Get creative, pull out some simple art materials and ask your child to make pictures. Here are some ideas to get you started, feel free to improvise: Ask your child to draw pictures of their favorite thing that happened during the day, ask them to make pictures of what the liked the least or anything that was frustrating, upsetting or annoying, ask them to make a picture of what they are feeling, and what that looks like. If there was a difficult situation, ask your child to make a picture of what they could have done differently to handle it.

Yes, it’s a busy time of the year with so many exciting things to do. Help your child manage the transitions with ease with these tips. If you need more support, we’d love to help you. Learn more about our amazing International Parents and Professionals Community and all the resources, and support you can access 24/7 to help your child be the amazingly awesome kid you know they can be!

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Prevent Holiday Tantrums and Meltdowns at ANY Age

December 4th, 2012

The holidays are a very exciting and stimulating time of year, and regardless of your age you may find yourself overwhelmed, exhausted, and ready to meltdown from stress. Now imagine you are a child with limited control and resources to express and manage your stress. No wonder this time of the year can be overwhelming for kids and adults alike! Here are 4 ways to prevent holiday tantrums and meltdowns at any age:

 

  1. Overstimulation is… overstimulating! Running around from store to store and from activity to activity is exhausting for everyone, especially children who are sensitive to the environment or have sensory issues. All those bright lights and loud stores are enough to unnerve anyone.  Know your child’s limitations and don’t ask them to go beyond what they are capable of doing. Instead, arrange a play date, ask a relative to help out, have your spouse watch the kids as you go and take care of shopping or last minute details.
  2. Kids don’t always have the words to tell you. When children are exhausted and overwhelmed they don’t always have the awareness or ability to let you know that they are at their limit. Heck, even as adults we can easily minimize our spouse/partner when they say that they have had enough and need a break…”Oh but there are a few more things we’ve GOT to get done”! Listen to your child, look at their body cues, and help them identify when they need a break. By helping your child understand and positively express their limits you can avoid the meltdowns and tantrums, especially the public ones that leave you wanting to sneak out of the store from embarrassment.
  3. Get back to basics: Wacky schedules, too much sugar, not enough exercise will lead to mood dysreguation.  Keep a daily schedule with regular bedtimes and use a whiteboard to add special events.  Limit all those holiday sweets. A simple rule of 1 sweet a day can help diffuse the arguments over cookies and candy.  If your child drinks soda, it may be time to choose a natural soda or limit the amount of soda. Clean out the cupboards of salty snacks, toss the ice cream and other sugars, and get outside and exercise.  Head to the local YMCA, join a sport, or just get outside. Exercise helps reduce stress and regulate mood (and helps with anxiety and depression).
  4. Pick and choose what’s important. What do you want your holiday memories to be like? If you are trying to pack everything holiday into 4 weeks you’ll be creating memories, for sure, but they may not be the memories you would like your child to remember!

 

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

 

Here’s a creative activity to help you choose what’s important for your family. Take a few minutes and some deep breaths then find some magazines (or just get paper and pen/pencils/markers).  Choose a few words that reflect what you would like this holiday season to be remembered as. Write those words or cut the words out from magazines and paste onto paper. Then write down all of the things you believe you “should” do over the holidays on a separate piece of paper.  Look at your list of things to do and remove activities that do not align with the words you desire to create. This can be an empowering activity for the whole family, to help your family choose what’s important (and not so much) for the holidays.

Set your child up for success by joining the International Parents & Professionals Community December support call with guest expert Deborah McNelis on  the topic of “Brain Insights: Make a Positive Difference for Children!” You’ll get access to positive and practical strategies to help your child develop a healthy brain.

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