A meltdown is very different from a tantrum and it is important to learn how to support someone during a meltdown. Here are our 5 Tips for helping your child through a meltdown.
Knowing the warning signs of your child’s meltdowns is very important. Once you know what some of the warning signs are you could even avoid a meltdown. Keep a diary of your child’s meltdowns and you will probably see a pattern. This way you may be able to avoid a meltdown or at least be prepared. Meltdowns will usually be the cause of an overload and you may notice your child started to stim beforehand to try and regulate themselves.
Your child may tell you to leave them alone or go away. They may ask you to stop talking to them. Your child is not being rude. They know they are going to have sensory overload and they are communicating while they still can. Listen to them and do as they ask. Stay close so that you can keep an eye on them but by giving them space they ask for you could help to stem a further meltdown.
It is important for you to stay calm. Children can pick up on our stresses and anxieties. By staying calm and not projecting our emotions is easier said than done but if we can do this it will help our child through their meltdown.
Make sure you think about safety. Take your child away from the environment they are in to somewhere safe and calm. For example, a noisy road may cause a meltdown, you need to think about getting away from the dangers of the road as during a meltdown your child will not be aware of dangers around them and they may also go into fight or flight mode. It is also a good idea to carry a bag of sensory tools to help your child through their meltdown or to stop it completely (see Sensory Tool Kit)
Whether your child is verbal or nonverbal narrate everything that you are doing throughout the meltdown so that they know what to expect. If you are going to touch them tell them if you are going to move away to get something tell them. Narrate everything you do at this time so that they know what is happening.
Meltdowns can be very difficult to manage and can be very tiring for both you and your child. Be prepared for your child to shut down after a meltdown. Try not to put any demands on them as give them space and time they need to recharge.
We hope you enjoyed these tips for helping your child through a meltdown, let us know on Facebook if you have more!
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