Tips for Parents to Manage Meltdowns
School can be both physically and mentally draining for kids, especially in the first week or two, so it’s not surprising that at the end of the day they may have a meltdown.
Robin Chancer, LCSW, CareNet counselor at Wake Forest Baptist, offers these tips for parents to make after-school evenings less stressful.
Routines and Schedules
Have a schedule and stick to it. This way the child knows when and what to expect after-school and is less likely to be upset by something new.
After a long day, the child is most likely exhausted and possibly irritable. Combat the low blood sugar and attitude combination with a snack when they get home.
Avoid the homework tantrum by allowing the child to have a snack and a little time to play before hitting the books. Waiting too long to do homework will only end in late nights and tears.
Read a book or listen to soothing music with the child before bed. This will help him or her relax and make it easier to go to sleep.
If the child does have a meltdown:
Try to let them have a chance to safely express their emotions. Maybe a recent transition or something that happened at school has been building up and needs to be let out. Try to validate the feeling and understand what spurred the meltdown.
Talk it Out
When they are calm again, talk with them about what happened. Let them know that it's ok to feel sad or angry, and you'd like them to express it in words. They might need training on how to verbalize their emotions so they don't have to show them through their behavior.
If the child gets aggressive when he or she has a meltdown, set boundaries. To offer some space and time to cool off, parents could say something like, "I understand you're frustrated. When you're ready to talk calmly, let's talk this out.”