Thursday, 18 November 2010

What's your meltdown fix?

For my son, it's listening to 'The wheels on the bus', for others I know it's turning on the TV. I'm talking about the only thing you can do that placates a very upset, unconsolable, frustrated toddler.

We don't have many meltdowns with my son ( far) but when we were recently on holiday and he woke up in the car from a nap that was too short and couldn't get back to sleep and nothing would stop his screams, we put on a nursery rhyme CD. The first song on there is 'The wheels on the bus' and that did it. He stopped his crying, his face lit up with a smile and the tears and anguish were all forgotten.

Likewise, the other weekend he was upset after his nap (notice the pattern?!) and nothing we did would calm him down. My husband reached for the CD and again, when his favourite song started the meltdown immediately melted away.

I left my son with a friend yesterday while I went to an appointment. He's been a but clingy just recently so I was a bit nervous about leaving him and could hear the cries as I closed the door behind me and left. My friend has a son of a similar age and had reassured me all would be fine and if the worst came to the worst she would switch on the TV. Her son and mine don't watch TV (her son does only when she needs him distracted to cut his fingernails) so I guess the novelty works for her son and might for mine too. We don't have a TV so I've never used that trick. I have another mummy friend who uses the TV to calm her son down and finds it's the only thing that works.

Today, I looked after the same friend's son while it was her turn to go to an appointment. He's a very good little boy, plays nicely and is no trouble at all. Yet, I had the thought of what I would do if one or both of them lost it. Would 'The wheels on the bus' work for this boy too? I had my doubts. Luckily, I didn't need to test it out!

So what do you when your child has a meltdown? I thought it could be helpful to know what other mums have tried when all else has failed and who knows, we might learn some other techniques to try out from each other.


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  1. Now that my youngest is four, his meltdowns are different than when he was younger. I have found that now if he is upset about something (usually because he is tired too), if I hold him close and whisper in his ear or sing his favorite lullaby that I sang to him as a baby he immediately gets quiet. I'm sure I tried this when he was younger and it just didn't work, but for now it works so I'm using it :)

  2. The favourite lullaby trick seems to work for my son now too (although as with Tiffany it wasn't always the case).

    When he was a baby if we really couldn't get him to settle a quick ride in the car seemed to do the trick - something to do with the engine noise I guess? Clearly not environmentally friendly but imperative for our sanity :)

  3. How funny that with my youngest a cd does the trick too! it's actually a book reading of Giraffes Can't Dance, read by Hugh Laurie.

    I leave it in the car and it always calms him down.

    Otherwise... I would have to say... food!

  4. Thanks ladies! It's really interesting to see that music or singing seems to be a good solution, or in Urban Mum's case, a fun story. Those are obviously calming and comforting to a child.

    Urban Mums - food is definitely worth mentioning too and can be a good distraction in the midst of a meltdown.


Thank you for reading. I'd love to have your comments and thoughts!