TIP of the WEEK: Getting Back to Baseline

January 25, 2013

Our kids can often be redirected before they enter meltdown mode but when they can’t we need to wait it out, keep them safe and try to get back to routine as soon as possible. Once a meltdown or tantrum begins there is little that you can do to stop it. Most kids can’t regulate their emotions well enough to deescalate once frustration and anxiety take over. When you first notice escalating emotions, that is the time to use distraction, a calm and slow tone of voice, reminders of positive upcoming events in their day and little to no external stimuli. If a behavior becomes out of hand or dangerous, clear the environment of people and objects (either objects that could hurt the child if damaged or objects that you would be heartbroken to lose) and keep the child safe from hurting themselves until the behavior is over. After, the child will often become very tired or fall asleep. Let this happen. It is the body’s way of regulating itself and is the best calming tool. Post incident, wait several hours before going over what happened and realize that your reality of what happened may be very different from your childs. Pay attention to what they say because you may find the antecedent or trigger in their account of the events. And don’t forget to take time for yourself to calm your nerves and get re- energized so you can move past the event and get on to the fun stuff.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll

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