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Mastering the Meltdown: The Cereal Offender

The Scenario

Matt, father of two, writes,

It seems like every morning my three-year-old daughter has a meltdown. It usually begins with her demanding a specific cereal, yogurt, bowl, and spoon, and if she does not get what she wants, the loud crying and tears begin and sometimes even involves throwing utensils. This is especially problematic since my partner and I take turns in the early morning getting our two children's breakfast ready and clothes changed so that the other can catch up on sleep. Additionally, we like to diversify our meals in order to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. If it’s cereal and yogurt one day, then we like to provide scrambled eggs mixed with spinach the next.
With our kids getting up as early as 6 AM, these meltdowns can be particularly taxing. Despite all my attempts to encourage our children, especially our 3-year-old, to talk quietly in the morning, they continue to make loud noises or screams that could wake up other people at that hour. I feel my blood begin to boil. Complicating the situation is that our dog accompanies the crying with howling. I have since attached a bark collar to our dog and that appears to have done the trick. I am tempted to do the same with our young daughter. Instead, I have placed her in the washer-and-dryer room and shut the glass door until she begins to calm down, but even that is not entirely successful.
Of course, she does have her occasional meltdowns throughout the day. At these times, I am able to empathize more and provide emotional support or deflect her attention to something else. But also, during the day, it’s not so disruptive to others attempting to sleep. Rather, it’s the almost daily audible blackmail in the morning that leaves me at my wit's end.

Inside the child’s mind

At three years old, a child is beginning to understand their emotions and yet their impulse control is not yet developed. In fact, the part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) that regulates impulsivity is not yet fully developed until 25 years of age. So buckle up parents, it might get wild!

If a three-year-old is happy, they’re really happy! And if they’re mad, they’re enraged! All of this is not only normal but necessary for healthy development at this stage. We want our toddlers to feel and understand their big emotions so that when they’re older they know how to manage and express intense emotions in healthy ways.

During a meltdown, a child’s feelings are real; this is their emotional truth and experience in the moment. As frustrating as it can be for a parent to empathize with a tantruming child over cereal, remember that their feelings are as intense and real as an adult being fired from their dream job.

Whatever the toddler is melting down about is a HUGE disappointment for them. Their feelings are massive yet they have practically no ability to repress them; they can only express them.

Their emotions in the situation are being triggered by their desires (cereal in this case) and the failure to achieve these desires. Inside a child’s mind the cereal may be the pinnacle of delicious joy and happiness—and they can’t have it!

At the developmental stage of a 3-year-old, the intense emotions are mostly coming from unmet expectations. She wakes up in the morning expecting this delicious joy and is then blocked from having it. She also might have experienced in the past achieving her goal of getting this cereal by screaming and melting down. So if her brain first expects the possibility of cereal and then expects that a meltdown has a non-zero chance of succeeding in producing cereal, then it’s not just huge emotions at work, it’s also some excellent toddler rationality.

Managing the Meltdown

The goals: To maintain your calm, validate your child’s feelings, and model how to calm down.

A child is not teachable during a meltdown. During a meltdown it is the parent’s job to keep their calm, and help the child find their way back to calm This can be tricky and emotionally taxing on the parent but totally possible! The way to get back to calm during these meltdown situations is for parents to help their children identify their emotions and model for their children ways to calm themselves.

1. FIND YOUR OWN CALM FIRST.
Just like on an airplane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. You can’t help your child if you are emotionally overwhelmed. Even when the situation feels urgent (She’s waking up the whole neighborhood!), it will end faster and with less screaming if you keep your cool. Pause and take a deep breath. Continue to return to your breath several times (use the 4-7-8 method). Use the start of every meltdown as a cue to check in with yourself emotionally and regulate your breathing. A dysregulated parent can’t help a dysregulated toddler.

2. TAKE THEIR EMOTIONS SERIOUSLY
While it might seem ridiculous to scream over cereal, it’s your child’s emotional truth. Approach toddler meltdowns like you would a friend who just had a major breakup. It might feel like your coddling behavior you disapprove of, but instead you’re letting your child know that you get them and you’re not against them.

3. LABEL THE EMOTIONS.
Next, state outloud how your toddler may be feeling. Young children have to learn how to voice what they’re feeling and identify it. You could say, “Wow, you’re so angry! You wanted cereal instead of eggs! It’s so frustrating when you don’t get what you want.” When you say this, say it in an empathetic way, like you would to a friend that just told you a serious problem. Saying it in a flat, non-emotional way is a lot less satisfying than if someone responds to your problem with genuine empathy in their voice.

4. MODEL THE CALM.
Parents can help show the way back to calm. One way is to hold them and take deep breaths while singing a calming song or humming a soft tune. This technique helps them recognize that their big emotions aren’t too much for you, that they are loved, and that there is no time when you aren’t a safe person for them. They may fight you at first, but almost always it results in them calming down and breathing with you. If your child knows you love them through their crisis over cereal, they are more likely to know you’ll love them when the situation is much more complicated (think adolescence and young adulthood!). Consider how you handle their meltdown now as setting the foundation of trust for the future.

Preventing the next one

The following three steps will help minimize or prevent the next meltdown:

1. CREATE A SENSE OF PREDICTABILITY.
Predictability creates a sense of stability and trust. Whether it’s a trip to the dentist or just the morning routine, if a child knows what’s coming, they are much more likely to handle it well. Help them prepare for the next day the night before. Tell them what’s for breakfast and show them a picture of it on a schedule. You can say, “Tomorrow is Tuesday, on Tuesday we have eggs and spinach. On Wednesdays we have cereal.” You can also tell them who is getting up with them and any other details. Then, ask them to repeat back in their own words what they heard and understood. When you first implement the schedule you may notice that her behavior worsens the first couple of days using it. This is okay because behavior sometimes worsens at first when a toddler is adjusting to a new rule or change. Think of this as them testing the limits of what is the new norm. Eventually, the predictability will create the calm mornings you’re looking for.

2. THE POWER OF CHOICE.
There are so many things a toddler is told to do in a day. If you think about it, they have very little say in what they do, where they go, and when they do it. Giving them the opportunity to choose things in their day makes a world of difference. It also builds their esteem and trust that you value their opinions.

3. CONSISTENCY.
Occasionally, parents will give in to their child having a meltdown and give them what they wanted to make the behavior stop. Unfortunately, doing this even once will ensure at least a handful of future meltdowns because the child knows that this behavior is at least somewhat likely to achieve their goal of getting what they want. Consistency in not giving in will help prevent future meltdowns.

Mastering the Meltdown: The Cereal Offender

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Mastering the Meltdown: The Cereal Offender

Our TFT toddler experts take parents’ real-life meltdown scenarios, explain what’s happening developmentally for the child and explore different evidence-based approaches to managing present and future meltdowns.

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Key takeaways

1

A toddler has regular meltdowns when she can’t have cereal in the morning

2

Our TFT toddler experts describe how seemingly small disappointments can be massive emotional tidal waves for toddlers

3

They also describe several effective strategies for managing this meltdown and preventing it in the future

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The Scenario

Matt, father of two, writes,

It seems like every morning my three-year-old daughter has a meltdown. It usually begins with her demanding a specific cereal, yogurt, bowl, and spoon, and if she does not get what she wants, the loud crying and tears begin and sometimes even involves throwing utensils. This is especially problematic since my partner and I take turns in the early morning getting our two children's breakfast ready and clothes changed so that the other can catch up on sleep. Additionally, we like to diversify our meals in order to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. If it’s cereal and yogurt one day, then we like to provide scrambled eggs mixed with spinach the next.
With our kids getting up as early as 6 AM, these meltdowns can be particularly taxing. Despite all my attempts to encourage our children, especially our 3-year-old, to talk quietly in the morning, they continue to make loud noises or screams that could wake up other people at that hour. I feel my blood begin to boil. Complicating the situation is that our dog accompanies the crying with howling. I have since attached a bark collar to our dog and that appears to have done the trick. I am tempted to do the same with our young daughter. Instead, I have placed her in the washer-and-dryer room and shut the glass door until she begins to calm down, but even that is not entirely successful.
Of course, she does have her occasional meltdowns throughout the day. At these times, I am able to empathize more and provide emotional support or deflect her attention to something else. But also, during the day, it’s not so disruptive to others attempting to sleep. Rather, it’s the almost daily audible blackmail in the morning that leaves me at my wit's end.

Inside the child’s mind

At three years old, a child is beginning to understand their emotions and yet their impulse control is not yet developed. In fact, the part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) that regulates impulsivity is not yet fully developed until 25 years of age. So buckle up parents, it might get wild!

If a three-year-old is happy, they’re really happy! And if they’re mad, they’re enraged! All of this is not only normal but necessary for healthy development at this stage. We want our toddlers to feel and understand their big emotions so that when they’re older they know how to manage and express intense emotions in healthy ways.

During a meltdown, a child’s feelings are real; this is their emotional truth and experience in the moment. As frustrating as it can be for a parent to empathize with a tantruming child over cereal, remember that their feelings are as intense and real as an adult being fired from their dream job.

Whatever the toddler is melting down about is a HUGE disappointment for them. Their feelings are massive yet they have practically no ability to repress them; they can only express them.

Their emotions in the situation are being triggered by their desires (cereal in this case) and the failure to achieve these desires. Inside a child’s mind the cereal may be the pinnacle of delicious joy and happiness—and they can’t have it!

At the developmental stage of a 3-year-old, the intense emotions are mostly coming from unmet expectations. She wakes up in the morning expecting this delicious joy and is then blocked from having it. She also might have experienced in the past achieving her goal of getting this cereal by screaming and melting down. So if her brain first expects the possibility of cereal and then expects that a meltdown has a non-zero chance of succeeding in producing cereal, then it’s not just huge emotions at work, it’s also some excellent toddler rationality.

Managing the Meltdown

The goals: To maintain your calm, validate your child’s feelings, and model how to calm down.

A child is not teachable during a meltdown. During a meltdown it is the parent’s job to keep their calm, and help the child find their way back to calm This can be tricky and emotionally taxing on the parent but totally possible! The way to get back to calm during these meltdown situations is for parents to help their children identify their emotions and model for their children ways to calm themselves.

1. FIND YOUR OWN CALM FIRST.
Just like on an airplane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. You can’t help your child if you are emotionally overwhelmed. Even when the situation feels urgent (She’s waking up the whole neighborhood!), it will end faster and with less screaming if you keep your cool. Pause and take a deep breath. Continue to return to your breath several times (use the 4-7-8 method). Use the start of every meltdown as a cue to check in with yourself emotionally and regulate your breathing. A dysregulated parent can’t help a dysregulated toddler.

2. TAKE THEIR EMOTIONS SERIOUSLY
While it might seem ridiculous to scream over cereal, it’s your child’s emotional truth. Approach toddler meltdowns like you would a friend who just had a major breakup. It might feel like your coddling behavior you disapprove of, but instead you’re letting your child know that you get them and you’re not against them.

3. LABEL THE EMOTIONS.
Next, state outloud how your toddler may be feeling. Young children have to learn how to voice what they’re feeling and identify it. You could say, “Wow, you’re so angry! You wanted cereal instead of eggs! It’s so frustrating when you don’t get what you want.” When you say this, say it in an empathetic way, like you would to a friend that just told you a serious problem. Saying it in a flat, non-emotional way is a lot less satisfying than if someone responds to your problem with genuine empathy in their voice.

4. MODEL THE CALM.
Parents can help show the way back to calm. One way is to hold them and take deep breaths while singing a calming song or humming a soft tune. This technique helps them recognize that their big emotions aren’t too much for you, that they are loved, and that there is no time when you aren’t a safe person for them. They may fight you at first, but almost always it results in them calming down and breathing with you. If your child knows you love them through their crisis over cereal, they are more likely to know you’ll love them when the situation is much more complicated (think adolescence and young adulthood!). Consider how you handle their meltdown now as setting the foundation of trust for the future.

Preventing the next one

The following three steps will help minimize or prevent the next meltdown:

1. CREATE A SENSE OF PREDICTABILITY.
Predictability creates a sense of stability and trust. Whether it’s a trip to the dentist or just the morning routine, if a child knows what’s coming, they are much more likely to handle it well. Help them prepare for the next day the night before. Tell them what’s for breakfast and show them a picture of it on a schedule. You can say, “Tomorrow is Tuesday, on Tuesday we have eggs and spinach. On Wednesdays we have cereal.” You can also tell them who is getting up with them and any other details. Then, ask them to repeat back in their own words what they heard and understood. When you first implement the schedule you may notice that her behavior worsens the first couple of days using it. This is okay because behavior sometimes worsens at first when a toddler is adjusting to a new rule or change. Think of this as them testing the limits of what is the new norm. Eventually, the predictability will create the calm mornings you’re looking for.

2. THE POWER OF CHOICE.
There are so many things a toddler is told to do in a day. If you think about it, they have very little say in what they do, where they go, and when they do it. Giving them the opportunity to choose things in their day makes a world of difference. It also builds their esteem and trust that you value their opinions.

3. CONSISTENCY.
Occasionally, parents will give in to their child having a meltdown and give them what they wanted to make the behavior stop. Unfortunately, doing this even once will ensure at least a handful of future meltdowns because the child knows that this behavior is at least somewhat likely to achieve their goal of getting what they want. Consistency in not giving in will help prevent future meltdowns.

The Scenario

Matt, father of two, writes,

It seems like every morning my three-year-old daughter has a meltdown. It usually begins with her demanding a specific cereal, yogurt, bowl, and spoon, and if she does not get what she wants, the loud crying and tears begin and sometimes even involves throwing utensils. This is especially problematic since my partner and I take turns in the early morning getting our two children's breakfast ready and clothes changed so that the other can catch up on sleep. Additionally, we like to diversify our meals in order to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. If it’s cereal and yogurt one day, then we like to provide scrambled eggs mixed with spinach the next.
With our kids getting up as early as 6 AM, these meltdowns can be particularly taxing. Despite all my attempts to encourage our children, especially our 3-year-old, to talk quietly in the morning, they continue to make loud noises or screams that could wake up other people at that hour. I feel my blood begin to boil. Complicating the situation is that our dog accompanies the crying with howling. I have since attached a bark collar to our dog and that appears to have done the trick. I am tempted to do the same with our young daughter. Instead, I have placed her in the washer-and-dryer room and shut the glass door until she begins to calm down, but even that is not entirely successful.
Of course, she does have her occasional meltdowns throughout the day. At these times, I am able to empathize more and provide emotional support or deflect her attention to something else. But also, during the day, it’s not so disruptive to others attempting to sleep. Rather, it’s the almost daily audible blackmail in the morning that leaves me at my wit's end.

Inside the child’s mind

At three years old, a child is beginning to understand their emotions and yet their impulse control is not yet developed. In fact, the part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) that regulates impulsivity is not yet fully developed until 25 years of age. So buckle up parents, it might get wild!

If a three-year-old is happy, they’re really happy! And if they’re mad, they’re enraged! All of this is not only normal but necessary for healthy development at this stage. We want our toddlers to feel and understand their big emotions so that when they’re older they know how to manage and express intense emotions in healthy ways.

During a meltdown, a child’s feelings are real; this is their emotional truth and experience in the moment. As frustrating as it can be for a parent to empathize with a tantruming child over cereal, remember that their feelings are as intense and real as an adult being fired from their dream job.

Whatever the toddler is melting down about is a HUGE disappointment for them. Their feelings are massive yet they have practically no ability to repress them; they can only express them.

Their emotions in the situation are being triggered by their desires (cereal in this case) and the failure to achieve these desires. Inside a child’s mind the cereal may be the pinnacle of delicious joy and happiness—and they can’t have it!

At the developmental stage of a 3-year-old, the intense emotions are mostly coming from unmet expectations. She wakes up in the morning expecting this delicious joy and is then blocked from having it. She also might have experienced in the past achieving her goal of getting this cereal by screaming and melting down. So if her brain first expects the possibility of cereal and then expects that a meltdown has a non-zero chance of succeeding in producing cereal, then it’s not just huge emotions at work, it’s also some excellent toddler rationality.

Managing the Meltdown

The goals: To maintain your calm, validate your child’s feelings, and model how to calm down.

A child is not teachable during a meltdown. During a meltdown it is the parent’s job to keep their calm, and help the child find their way back to calm This can be tricky and emotionally taxing on the parent but totally possible! The way to get back to calm during these meltdown situations is for parents to help their children identify their emotions and model for their children ways to calm themselves.

1. FIND YOUR OWN CALM FIRST.
Just like on an airplane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. You can’t help your child if you are emotionally overwhelmed. Even when the situation feels urgent (She’s waking up the whole neighborhood!), it will end faster and with less screaming if you keep your cool. Pause and take a deep breath. Continue to return to your breath several times (use the 4-7-8 method). Use the start of every meltdown as a cue to check in with yourself emotionally and regulate your breathing. A dysregulated parent can’t help a dysregulated toddler.

2. TAKE THEIR EMOTIONS SERIOUSLY
While it might seem ridiculous to scream over cereal, it’s your child’s emotional truth. Approach toddler meltdowns like you would a friend who just had a major breakup. It might feel like your coddling behavior you disapprove of, but instead you’re letting your child know that you get them and you’re not against them.

3. LABEL THE EMOTIONS.
Next, state outloud how your toddler may be feeling. Young children have to learn how to voice what they’re feeling and identify it. You could say, “Wow, you’re so angry! You wanted cereal instead of eggs! It’s so frustrating when you don’t get what you want.” When you say this, say it in an empathetic way, like you would to a friend that just told you a serious problem. Saying it in a flat, non-emotional way is a lot less satisfying than if someone responds to your problem with genuine empathy in their voice.

4. MODEL THE CALM.
Parents can help show the way back to calm. One way is to hold them and take deep breaths while singing a calming song or humming a soft tune. This technique helps them recognize that their big emotions aren’t too much for you, that they are loved, and that there is no time when you aren’t a safe person for them. They may fight you at first, but almost always it results in them calming down and breathing with you. If your child knows you love them through their crisis over cereal, they are more likely to know you’ll love them when the situation is much more complicated (think adolescence and young adulthood!). Consider how you handle their meltdown now as setting the foundation of trust for the future.

Preventing the next one

The following three steps will help minimize or prevent the next meltdown:

1. CREATE A SENSE OF PREDICTABILITY.
Predictability creates a sense of stability and trust. Whether it’s a trip to the dentist or just the morning routine, if a child knows what’s coming, they are much more likely to handle it well. Help them prepare for the next day the night before. Tell them what’s for breakfast and show them a picture of it on a schedule. You can say, “Tomorrow is Tuesday, on Tuesday we have eggs and spinach. On Wednesdays we have cereal.” You can also tell them who is getting up with them and any other details. Then, ask them to repeat back in their own words what they heard and understood. When you first implement the schedule you may notice that her behavior worsens the first couple of days using it. This is okay because behavior sometimes worsens at first when a toddler is adjusting to a new rule or change. Think of this as them testing the limits of what is the new norm. Eventually, the predictability will create the calm mornings you’re looking for.

2. THE POWER OF CHOICE.
There are so many things a toddler is told to do in a day. If you think about it, they have very little say in what they do, where they go, and when they do it. Giving them the opportunity to choose things in their day makes a world of difference. It also builds their esteem and trust that you value their opinions.

3. CONSISTENCY.
Occasionally, parents will give in to their child having a meltdown and give them what they wanted to make the behavior stop. Unfortunately, doing this even once will ensure at least a handful of future meltdowns because the child knows that this behavior is at least somewhat likely to achieve their goal of getting what they want. Consistency in not giving in will help prevent future meltdowns.

The Scenario

Matt, father of two, writes,

It seems like every morning my three-year-old daughter has a meltdown. It usually begins with her demanding a specific cereal, yogurt, bowl, and spoon, and if she does not get what she wants, the loud crying and tears begin and sometimes even involves throwing utensils. This is especially problematic since my partner and I take turns in the early morning getting our two children's breakfast ready and clothes changed so that the other can catch up on sleep. Additionally, we like to diversify our meals in order to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. If it’s cereal and yogurt one day, then we like to provide scrambled eggs mixed with spinach the next.
With our kids getting up as early as 6 AM, these meltdowns can be particularly taxing. Despite all my attempts to encourage our children, especially our 3-year-old, to talk quietly in the morning, they continue to make loud noises or screams that could wake up other people at that hour. I feel my blood begin to boil. Complicating the situation is that our dog accompanies the crying with howling. I have since attached a bark collar to our dog and that appears to have done the trick. I am tempted to do the same with our young daughter. Instead, I have placed her in the washer-and-dryer room and shut the glass door until she begins to calm down, but even that is not entirely successful.
Of course, she does have her occasional meltdowns throughout the day. At these times, I am able to empathize more and provide emotional support or deflect her attention to something else. But also, during the day, it’s not so disruptive to others attempting to sleep. Rather, it’s the almost daily audible blackmail in the morning that leaves me at my wit's end.

Inside the child’s mind

At three years old, a child is beginning to understand their emotions and yet their impulse control is not yet developed. In fact, the part of our brain (the prefrontal cortex) that regulates impulsivity is not yet fully developed until 25 years of age. So buckle up parents, it might get wild!

If a three-year-old is happy, they’re really happy! And if they’re mad, they’re enraged! All of this is not only normal but necessary for healthy development at this stage. We want our toddlers to feel and understand their big emotions so that when they’re older they know how to manage and express intense emotions in healthy ways.

During a meltdown, a child’s feelings are real; this is their emotional truth and experience in the moment. As frustrating as it can be for a parent to empathize with a tantruming child over cereal, remember that their feelings are as intense and real as an adult being fired from their dream job.

Whatever the toddler is melting down about is a HUGE disappointment for them. Their feelings are massive yet they have practically no ability to repress them; they can only express them.

Their emotions in the situation are being triggered by their desires (cereal in this case) and the failure to achieve these desires. Inside a child’s mind the cereal may be the pinnacle of delicious joy and happiness—and they can’t have it!

At the developmental stage of a 3-year-old, the intense emotions are mostly coming from unmet expectations. She wakes up in the morning expecting this delicious joy and is then blocked from having it. She also might have experienced in the past achieving her goal of getting this cereal by screaming and melting down. So if her brain first expects the possibility of cereal and then expects that a meltdown has a non-zero chance of succeeding in producing cereal, then it’s not just huge emotions at work, it’s also some excellent toddler rationality.

Managing the Meltdown

The goals: To maintain your calm, validate your child’s feelings, and model how to calm down.

A child is not teachable during a meltdown. During a meltdown it is the parent’s job to keep their calm, and help the child find their way back to calm This can be tricky and emotionally taxing on the parent but totally possible! The way to get back to calm during these meltdown situations is for parents to help their children identify their emotions and model for their children ways to calm themselves.

1. FIND YOUR OWN CALM FIRST.
Just like on an airplane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. You can’t help your child if you are emotionally overwhelmed. Even when the situation feels urgent (She’s waking up the whole neighborhood!), it will end faster and with less screaming if you keep your cool. Pause and take a deep breath. Continue to return to your breath several times (use the 4-7-8 method). Use the start of every meltdown as a cue to check in with yourself emotionally and regulate your breathing. A dysregulated parent can’t help a dysregulated toddler.

2. TAKE THEIR EMOTIONS SERIOUSLY
While it might seem ridiculous to scream over cereal, it’s your child’s emotional truth. Approach toddler meltdowns like you would a friend who just had a major breakup. It might feel like your coddling behavior you disapprove of, but instead you’re letting your child know that you get them and you’re not against them.

3. LABEL THE EMOTIONS.
Next, state outloud how your toddler may be feeling. Young children have to learn how to voice what they’re feeling and identify it. You could say, “Wow, you’re so angry! You wanted cereal instead of eggs! It’s so frustrating when you don’t get what you want.” When you say this, say it in an empathetic way, like you would to a friend that just told you a serious problem. Saying it in a flat, non-emotional way is a lot less satisfying than if someone responds to your problem with genuine empathy in their voice.

4. MODEL THE CALM.
Parents can help show the way back to calm. One way is to hold them and take deep breaths while singing a calming song or humming a soft tune. This technique helps them recognize that their big emotions aren’t too much for you, that they are loved, and that there is no time when you aren’t a safe person for them. They may fight you at first, but almost always it results in them calming down and breathing with you. If your child knows you love them through their crisis over cereal, they are more likely to know you’ll love them when the situation is much more complicated (think adolescence and young adulthood!). Consider how you handle their meltdown now as setting the foundation of trust for the future.

Preventing the next one

The following three steps will help minimize or prevent the next meltdown:

1. CREATE A SENSE OF PREDICTABILITY.
Predictability creates a sense of stability and trust. Whether it’s a trip to the dentist or just the morning routine, if a child knows what’s coming, they are much more likely to handle it well. Help them prepare for the next day the night before. Tell them what’s for breakfast and show them a picture of it on a schedule. You can say, “Tomorrow is Tuesday, on Tuesday we have eggs and spinach. On Wednesdays we have cereal.” You can also tell them who is getting up with them and any other details. Then, ask them to repeat back in their own words what they heard and understood. When you first implement the schedule you may notice that her behavior worsens the first couple of days using it. This is okay because behavior sometimes worsens at first when a toddler is adjusting to a new rule or change. Think of this as them testing the limits of what is the new norm. Eventually, the predictability will create the calm mornings you’re looking for.

2. THE POWER OF CHOICE.
There are so many things a toddler is told to do in a day. If you think about it, they have very little say in what they do, where they go, and when they do it. Giving them the opportunity to choose things in their day makes a world of difference. It also builds their esteem and trust that you value their opinions.

3. CONSISTENCY.
Occasionally, parents will give in to their child having a meltdown and give them what they wanted to make the behavior stop. Unfortunately, doing this even once will ensure at least a handful of future meltdowns because the child knows that this behavior is at least somewhat likely to achieve their goal of getting what they want. Consistency in not giving in will help prevent future meltdowns.

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5 Things Friday: 5 Pieces of Parenting Wisdom From Busy Philipps

By

The Family Thrive Expert Team

Podcast Ep. 26: Tembi Locke on Parenting With Grace, Growing Through Grief, and Thriving No Matter What 

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 26: Tembi Locke on Parenting With Grace, Growing Through Grief, and Thriving No Matter What 

By

The Family Thrive Podcast

Audra's Book Club: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Podcast

Audra's Book Club: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

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Justin Wilford, PhD

Podcast Ep. 25: Real Talk About (Our) Marriage With Jenny Walters, LMFT

Podcast

Podcast Ep. 25: Real Talk About (Our) Marriage With Jenny Walters, LMFT

By

The Family Thrive Podcast

5 Things That Could Be Contributing to Air Pollution in Your Family’s Home

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5 Things That Could Be Contributing to Air Pollution in Your Family’s Home

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Jonah Yakel, DC

Give This a Try: Strength Training for Kids

Podcast

Give This a Try: Strength Training for Kids

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The Family Thrive Expert Team

Crockpot Turkey Breast With Grain-Free Gravy

Recipes

Crockpot Turkey Breast With Grain-Free Gravy

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Chef Andrew Johnson

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Recipes

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

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Chef Andrew Johnson

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipes

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Chef Andrew Johnson

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

Recipes

Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

By

Chef Andrew Johnson

5 Things Friday: 5 Pieces of Parenting Wisdom From Busy Philipps

5 Things Friday

5 Things Friday: 5 Pieces of Parenting Wisdom From Busy Philipps

By

The Family Thrive Expert Team

Podcast Ep. 26: Tembi Locke on Parenting With Grace, Growing Through Grief, and Thriving No Matter What 

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 26: Tembi Locke on Parenting With Grace, Growing Through Grief, and Thriving No Matter What 

By

The Family Thrive Podcast

Audra's Book Club: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Pro Perspective

Audra's Book Club: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

By

Justin Wilford, PhD

Podcast Ep. 25: Real Talk About (Our) Marriage With Jenny Walters, LMFT

Podcasts

Podcast Ep. 25: Real Talk About (Our) Marriage With Jenny Walters, LMFT

By

The Family Thrive Podcast

5 Things That Could Be Contributing to Air Pollution in Your Family’s Home

Pro Perspective

5 Things That Could Be Contributing to Air Pollution in Your Family’s Home

By

Jonah Yakel, DC

Give This a Try: Strength Training for Kids

Give This a Try

Give This a Try: Strength Training for Kids

By

The Family Thrive Expert Team

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