Five Ways to Deal With Terrible Twos Meltdowns

Miss A is 2. And since she turned 2, some magic happened and she’s become so different from the calm and content baby and 1 year old she was. First, I thought it was because we had a new baby. Then, I started worrying that perhaps it is some kind of disorder (you can’t blame a mom for worrying when her child keeps “melting down” over and over again for 30-40 minutes!).
So, I addressed my concerns some to fellow KBN members and I got to read this great article from Planning With Kids called Characteristics of Two (and a half) Year Old Behaviour; plus a lot of reassuring experience sharing. Oh, yes, if you wonder, I did know about terrible 2s. I just never experienced them first hand! Miss T had terrible 3s and terrible 4s, plus she is such a spirited energetic and happy child that it is VERY easy to make her laugh in a middle of a meltdown. It is very different with Miss A who has always been very serious, concentrated and HAS TO have things her way.
Before reading the articles we’ve been trying to come up with all sorts of creative ways of dealing with meltdowns. Of course, we are mere humans who also lose patience from time to time, so we go into meltdowns ourselves when all else fails.
Here are 5 things that work {most} of the time. Disclaimer: these are suggestions based on personal experience. If you apply them and fail – well, I am sorry, every child is different! However, if you have enough patience to attempt over and over again, at some point your efforts will be rewarded and you {will} burn a good bunch of calories along the way!
1. Don’t give too many choices. Limit them to 2 items: 2 dresses; 2 pairs of shoes; 2 food items; 2 activities; and so on. Too many choices are overwhelming and are likely to cause even worse anxiety (but you probably already know that!).
2. There is a difference between giving in and allowing some independence. E.g. if your child insists on getting dressed himself, by letting him try you are not giving into a tantrum. You are giving him a chance and you have to state so: “That’s fine, then. You can try yourself and I am here if you need help.” It took some battles for me to realize that miss A WILL come back asking to put her shirt on for her when she can’t figure it out. Or she will start crying and I tell her: “Oh, mama’s got you! Come here and let me see how you can do that!” – which usually means “come here and let me help you”.
3. Picking a child up and putting in a safe place during a meltdown with arms, legs and stuff flying around works. She will come running out, and you pick her up and put her right back in. And you talk her through it with a monotonous voice, as in, no emotions. You may repeat it a few times before she settles. Tip: leave a book or few toys nearby which will switch her attention when she stopped fighting whatever she was fighting.
4. One of the reasons why toddlers fuss and throw fits is because… they are hungry or thirsty. Their metabolism works so fast so they are constantly hungry. It doesn’t mean you have to stuff them up with food and let them eat whatever, but having a couple of favorite snacks and drinks handy, especially when you go out, works wonders!!!
5. Cut yourself some slack. You are probably not doing anything wrong. Your child is undergoing some major changes physically and emotionally.  So… breath in and out, and get back to being a parent. So you lost it today. As parents we also grow and learn and what we like to call “parenting fail” is not really a failure – it is a lesson to where our current limitations are and a chance to improve ourselves.
How do you deal with meltdowns?
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