Meltdowns happen with toddlers and young children quite often due to their underdeveloped processing systems. With special needs children, they can happen even more frequently, last longer and have more concerning side effects for parents and teachers. Particularly concerning for most adults is when these meltdowns happen at school. Whether your child suffers from diagnosed panic attacks, general temper tantrums or meltdowns based on sensory overload, here are a few tips for making the transition back to calm easier than ever.
If you can target the exact cause of the meltdown and remove the trigger, the meltdown may be able to end naturally on its own. For example, some children are triggered by noises, smells, or materials that feel a certain way.
Parents can help their children calm down by practicing certain relaxation methods. Many of these are taught in cognitive-behavioral therapy or other therapy classes. Some popular options include breathing exercises and sensory therapy. Other children calm down naturally with massage or exercise.
Instead of winging it the next time a child reaches a meltdown, adults should create a plan for dealing with problems. A plan will decrease the amount of time that the meltdown lasts.
Being consistent with the plan can create a calming ritual for the child. Even when it is difficult to continue with the plan because it does not seem to be working, parents and teachers must persist. They may need to make adjustments to the plan especially as the child ages, but the basics of the plan will remain the same because most children keep the same anxieties for years.