Surviving Toddler Meltdown Mode

For those of you who are new here, my name is Sharon. I have twin girls that are nearing the “dreaded” 2 year mark. You could say that our days are full of a tantrum or two…or twenty. Add in the fact that both of my daughters have delayed communication skills, then add a spinkle of insanity because my husband travels for work a lot…and we have a recipe for disaster...

If you are a fellow toddler parent, you may also be wondering how you’re going to survive. Toddlerhood is FUN, but it is also a rollercoaster ride from giggles to SCREAMS.

Here are some practical ways to power through the times you feel most powerless.

Try not take it personally.

As a Mama who has shed many tears this week during dualing twin tantrums, this is one point I have to keep reminding myself.

All behavior, including mind-numbing tantrums, comminicates SOMETHING. Counter to what our personal feelings may suggest, that message is rarely about us.

Most often, a child has an unmet need, and you are simply their safe place to voice their frustration.

While our instinct may be to do anything to MAKE IT STOP, the best approach is to try and figure out what your child is trying to communicate. Instead of jumping straight to punishment or yelling, demonstrate an alternative way to comminucate their need. This leads me to my next point…

Hold the definiton of communication with OPEN PALMS

When you’re upset, do you speak eloquently and appropriately at all times?Probably not, unless you’re a robot. Children are no different, so throw a heap of grace their way.

When a child is upset, accept ANY form of appropriate communication, even if you think they can do better.

Look for something positive you can get them to initiate. Will they point, sign, or use a single word to indicate what they need? Can they tap a picture, or *gently* pull you to what they want?

Libby doesn’t have the language to say “I am hungry,” but she can point to a picture of food to ask for a snack!

You know what is also appropriate communication? “I AM UPSET,” or “I NEED A BREAK.”

Sometimes we don’t have an immediate solution to what is upsetting us, yet we often expect children to turn off their emotions as quickly as they turned on.

All kids can benefit from the use of visuals

Whether you have a not-yet communicator like me, or you have the child who loves to debate you, visuals are very helpful. Visuals take abstract concepts and make them concrete, which is often what frustrated young minds desperately need.

ALL of us use visuals, whether it’s your iPhone, shopping list, or planner. Your child’s world is just as unpredictable as yours is, so provide visuals to help reduce their anxiety.

Here are two visuals I recently added to our home:

Daily schedule and a choice board for their favorite people.

Here is a quick HOW-TO guide, but please feel free to contact us if you have further questions!

Example of Visual Schedule:

Additional Resources:

https://autismawarenesscentre.com/visual-supports-best-way-use/

https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/2018-08/Visual%20Supports%20Tool%20Kit.pdf

Survival Mode Vs. Judgy Parent

Sometimes you have to pick your battles, feed them fast food, or continue shopping as they melt down. NONE of us are ever completely put together, on-time, and 100% organic GF/DF/everything free.

Recognize when you’re in survival mode, and know that ALL of us have been there. Give yourself extra grace, and ignore the people that have the time and energy to judge you.

From a fellow survival mode Mama, parenting is HARD. We have to stick together, pour a second cup of coffee, and BREATH.