The 3Ds to Stopping any Child Meltdown Super Fast
When your child is in meltdown mode, seconds seem like minutes, and minutes seem like hours. It horrible. The screaming, the yelling, the kicking. As parents with a child who constantly struggles on a daily basis these meltdowns are exhausting and so emotionally charged that it affects everyone in your home. Maybe you have tried a few things, but nothing seems to work. (That was us too). Over the last 6 years of addressing Samantha's issues we have become very, very, very good at turning her from meltdown mania to a happy girl. What use to sometimes take us hours we can now achieve in 10 minutes or less. We have trained ourselves in the 3 D's
Distract to Diffuse then Discuss
Distract your child by asking a simple cognitive question that requires their brain to stop what its doing to propose the answer. For example what is your favorite color? Do you want X or Y for a snack? Have you seen my shoes? This works as the area in the brain that requires this function will have to disrupt the current brain waves which in turns stop the current meltdown or anxiety. Don't be surprised if you have to calmly ask more than once and if your first question doesn't take, try another one.
As soon as your distraction technique works you will see the situation begin to diffuse and your child calm as they become interest in whatever you have them distracted in. Keep going with the distraction. DO NOT attempt to go back and discuss the meltdown, anxiety, or poor behavior choice yet. Your child needs to be completely calm and back to a happy state before you can discuss, otherwise you risk re-igniting the trigger that caused the situation in the first place. (Trust me on this one)
Lastly, after there has been some time and everyone is back to calm then this is the perfect time to discuss what happened. Make sure your tone and words are non-accusatory of your child. It is best to ask what they were feeling or what happened? Your child's perspective is EXTREMELY important to understand before you can help guide them to a different reasoning or behavior response to the situation. Be empathic while helping them to see how others in the situation may have felt, or how their behavior affected those around them. Use soft directives to assist in understanding the behavior you would like to see. Try to avoid the words No, Stop, & Don't while we direct. For example, a phrase like " Do you think next time we can try to use our words instead of screaming? Or What do you think would be a better response next time?
Our children are so bright, creative, and have the ability to make good behavior choices IF they can learn how to better communicate what they are feeling and understand what others around them are feeling. Give them chance. Next time your child is in meltdown mode try the 3D strategy; Distract to Diffuse then Discuss. Good Luck!
Do you have a meltdown strategy that works like a charm? Tell me in the comments below. Let's share and empower each other.
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