You know you've been there . . . That moment when you're ready to melt down. It only lasts a second, but some days that's all it takes. Whether it's fueled by hunger, physical exhaustion, or you're just having "one of those moments," a meltdown is something you could surely live without.
We're over on Facebook commiserating with #parentfail stories.
The first time someone told me that most meltdowns are avoidable, I laughed. You don't know my toddler, I thought to myself. Over time I realized, you just need to learn how to prevent them — or at least how to be prepared for and then skate around them.
Below are 7 ways I've learned to avoid child (and parent!) meltdowns over the years:
A hungry child is a recipe for disaster. (And, just between us, you're no picnic when you're starving, either.) So how do you keep everyone in your family feeling fueled, full, and friendly?
1. Pack a snack. If you're heading out of the house with a young child, make sure hunger doesn't become an issue when running errands. Here's a handy list of 20 healthy, on-the-go snacks, as well as the best foods to fuel your kid's body and mind.
2. Have an emergency stash. While I do my best to provide fresh, healthy snacks as often as possible, I keep a supply of mini-bags of pretzels in my car's center console for "hunger emergencies." They stay fresh in all sorts of weather and "hit the spot" nearly any time of day.
3. Keep the fridge full. Have pre-cut veggies, snack bags, and several fresh options readily available for those "witching-hour" moments right before dinner. If you take the time to make healthy food choices easy for kids to grab on the go, they'll do just that. Got a kid who refuses to eat veggies? Try this guaranteed method for turning your child into a CARROT LOVER.
4. Create a meal plan. Yes, I know it sounds daunting, so here's some info on getting started. A reliable system will save you TONS of stress in the long run. Still not ready to commit to a meal planning "system"? Then at least check out 10 tips to make meal planning easier.
A tired child is more likely to act up. And you're more likely to snap when they do. What's the solution?
5. Respect nap time. I know you need to run to the grocery store for that quick ingredient for dinner tonight, but taking a young child out in public around their nap time is just a tornado waiting to happen. How do you avoid that? I promise to only say it one more time: Meal planning, my friends! Really, it helps BIG TIME.
6. Cut adolescents some slack. Click here to read some crazy facts about teens and sleep. You may not be aware just how much sleep their bodies and brains really need during this incredibly taxing stage of development. They're not LAZY (well, not all the time); they're just RE-CHARGING, and probably on a different schedule than you are.
7. Take care of YOU. Be sure you're getting a solid night's rest for yourself, too. It's vital to complete a full sleep cycle to release your stress hormones so you can wake up truly refreshed. Having issues with insomnia? Try yogic sleep. One hour can be as restorative as 3 hours of sleep. Check out this free resource.
THAT "OFF" FEELING.
A child that feels "out of sorts" can quickly fall into a downward spiral. You know this is true for yourself . . . When you're unraveling emotionally (and sometimes don't even know why), everything — and everyone — around you suddenly becomes frustrating.
8. Take a time-in. I'm over at Modern Parents, Messy Kids sharing how taking a proactive TIME-IN (instead of a TIME-OUT) can lead to more peaceful family time for you and yours.
Read the article Healthy Family Habits: “Time-Ins” for the Whole Family
Do you have a funny story about a public parenting fail to share?
Mine involves a tired toddler and a library. Read the details and share your story in the comments below or here on Facebook.
Do you have any additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!
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