Does it seem like kids meltdown and tantrum more in the summer? It may be because of lack of sleep — no kids want to go to sleep when the sun is still out and bed times are usually pushed off. Meal times also aren’t on schedule — not to mention the never-ending heat and humidity.
What can we do to prevent these seemingly inevitable outbursts? Below are some helpful tactics to keep in mind that will help you and your child have a better, happier summer.
- It’s normal: All kids tantrum and have meltdowns. It is part of growing up. Children get angry, frustrated and disappointed and they do not know what to do with all that pent-up emotion, hence they cry and scream to help ease the tension they feel. If we think about it, adults do the same thing. Although we do hope that we have found more productive ways to deal with the emotions that overwhelm us, it is often the cause of our very own meltdowns — like when we yell at our kids or our spouses.
- Stick to a schedule: Kids do better when they know what to expect. That is tough in the summer time because we usually relax our rules and our schedule. It is a time for more flexibility and we can be more spontaneous, however, we still need to maintain some sort of regimen. We can start getting ready for bed a bit later, but still follow the same routine: bath time, snack time, reading time and then bed.
- Understand our children’s triggers: Tantrums seem to us as the ultimate in bratty behavior. However, as we mentioned, it is a normal reaction to feeling overwhelmed, angry, frustrated and disappointed. So instead of getting mad at our kids, we need to think about the possible causes and triggers. Many kids are more susceptible to meltdowns because they are sensitive to:
- loud noises
- extra bright lights
- unfamiliar surroundings
- changing activities too quickly
- new foods
- strange smells
- sitting too long
- moving too much
- seams in their socks
- tags in their clothing
Knowing what sets your child off can help you avoid it in the future.
Summer tantrums can put a damper on our vacations and getaways, but knowing that they are normal and simply a part of childhood will help you keep your spirits up. Sticking to a schedule and understanding what triggers tantrums will make them pass as quickly as summer vacation does.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.