The world is going through an unprecedented crisis, facing a pandemic that has forced us to stay home to stop the virus from taking up more lives. The impact to the economy and our lives is massive. We are all experiencing some level of anxiety, depression and even grief for the live we used to have.
For all the families out there staying home with their little toddlers, trying to navigate their big emotions, feeling trapped in the house, here are 5 quick tips to avoid meltdowns:
- Stay on top of their food/water intake and exercise. Keep snacks handy (ideally, make a basket with easy snacks they can grab themselves, placed at their reach) and offer water througout the day. (Hungry and dehydrated = grumpy child) and make sure they are moving. There are lots of fun resources online to get your kids moving - our favorite is GoNoodle and we've also tried many P.E. for kids videos on YouTube.
- Start and end the day with a short meditation. There are lots of free options online on Youtube/Spotify/Calm App. Look for a short one especially created for kids, as their attention span can be quite short.
Family Meetings. Once a week (or once a day if you need to) try to talk together as a family about how things are going. Talk about what made them happy, what made them upset and bring a few ideas to model the concept. Have everyone brainstorm ideas to make quarantine a bit more fun and try some of the things your things come up with, even if they seem silly. We've been doing a lot of dance parties before bedtime!
- Teach your toddlers Emotional Language. Often times meltdowns happen when little ones aren't able to express their emotions with words. Help them increase their vocabulary by modeling your own feelings. And just as you teach them the colors, the parts of the body and their A,B,C's, it is as important to teach words as: Bored, Lonely, Sad, Hungry, Tired. (BTW out Magnetic Feelings Chart helps doing this in a visual way.
- It is ok to relax your rules now. You are going through a lot. They are going through a lot of change. We are all in the house, people are losing their jobs, businesses, etc. Try not to feel guilty for not being a model homeschooler, worker, mom, housecleaner, chef, etc. It is a lot. Remember to take care of yourself, so you can be for your little ones. I've personally started doing short meditations with the Calm App on my phone, early in the morning while I'm still in bed, before my little ones wake up, or before going to sleep and it is helping me stay calmer during this high anxiety times.
If you need help with specific behaviors you are experiencing during quarantine with your toddlers, please reach out. We'll be happy to help.