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 (thankfully....so 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.