For this week’s Blog post, our school staff shared tips and tricks that work for them while addressing children being emotional or having a meltdown/tantrum and needing help co-regulate their feelings. Key words that help navigate this situation are Listen , Validate, Provide Space and Choices within the framework of Love and Empathy.
Listen to what they have to say or help them find the words while communicating with each other. Ask them what’s wrong and acknowledge that you hear them. Reassure them that its okay and they are safe.
Validate their Feelings or what they are trying to accomplish. Put a name to the emotions they are feeling- this will help them eventually calm themselves down. “I see you are having a tough time”, “You are mad” etc.
Provide Love and Have Empathy: Believe that it truly is a tough time for them sorting through emotions. Even adults have a hard time doing so. A Simple hug goes a long way.
Set Healthy Boundaries: Let them know that you mean what you say. Create a sense of routine and order.
Giving them space when needed for them to work through it or providing a calm space they can go to until they are ready. Offer words of assurance : “I see that you are feeling angry, I am here for you”. “I saw you throw that block, do you want to tell me something?”
Provide age appropriate choices. For a younger child, provide 2 choice and encourage them to choose one. Also, let them know that “If they don’t choose, you will choose it for them and that they can have a turn the next time”.
Offer options like meditation, breathing technique etc.
Suggest change of environment -for example, step out for a walk
Observe your child and their environment, watch for triggers. At this time, plan, prepare and be proactive before situation occurs.
Offer them freedom to express themselves as long as its safe to do so. If they need to cry or laugh, be down on the floor to get calm and its safe to do so, let it be.
When talking to the child, always ensure you are at their level, making eye contact and addressing the ‘behavior’ and ways to handle it. It is important for the child to know that the caregiver is there for them and will help them navigate the situation.
Lastly, its important for the ‘Adult’ to know that whatever behavior the child is expressing is not a way for them to get back at the adult, its not meant for the child to hurt the adult in anyway- it is a way of them communicating and asking for HELP.
“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, its our job to share our calm, not join their chaos”