Sunday, February 14, 2010

Toddler Meltdowns

Like every parent of a toddler, I have experienced my fair share of toddler meltdowns. Here is a meltdown example:

As you can see, meltdowns are not only for toddlers. Everyone can experience meltdowns. Recently, I have been experiencing the dreaded toddler meltdown during Alyssa’s bedtime and morning routine.

Every toddler meltdown may happen for different reasons, but they all have similar characteristics. The word “no,” throwing themselves to the ground, and screaming or crying are often present. Although this happens mostly in the home, it does on occasion make an appearance in public.

As a parent I try to minimize the situations when a meltdown can occur. Although I cannot give Alyssa everything she wants when we out at the store, I have developed some techniques to get through an adventure in the outside world. Here are five tips to avoiding a public toddler meltdown:

  1. Time the outing so it does not conflict with a naptime. Toddlers need their rest and a tired child equals an unhappy child.
  2. Bring snacks. Nothing keeps children happy like Goldfish or Cheerios. When you can tell your child is getting upset, break out the snacks.
  3. Do not drag your child for an all day outing to a place where they cannot enjoy themselves. As an adult, I do not enjoy going for a long outing to a boring mall so why would I make my child suffer through this pain. Although these trips are often unavoidable, keep them short.
  4. When you are going on an outing where waiting is unavoidable, ie doctors appointment or restaurant, bring a colouring book and some crayons. This can be fun for the child and the parents and will keep the child occupied until the waiting is over.
  5. Above all, make sure the outing is fun. Even if you need to boring things, make the best of the situation. Begin to dance or sing fun songs. Enjoy the outing as a family.

Although these tips will help, they will not completely rid of the toddler meltdown. As a parent you need to stand your ground and remember that every other parent knows what you are going through. They completely understand the toddler meltdown.


  1. It's funny that you point out that everyone can have a meltdown. I find it is more common practice to see an adult having a meltdown when I am out and about, then a toddler meltdown these days.

  2. Fabulous post Brett. My sister has a toddler and is going through many meltdowns. My niece is recovering from pneumonia and so there are many meltdowns. Good tips to help avoid the unavoidable.

  3. My niece is the queen of meltdowns, you have no idea. But unfortunately since I'm not home all the time she usually gets away with git. Apparently her parents and my parent need to read this post, to help deal with her meltdown.