Experiencing a child melt down in a public place or even in your home can be a very frustrating experience. Your self control can actually lead to your child’s self control. If you do not act out of impulse to your child’s melt down, but try a more reasoned approach, you will have a much better chance of getting the melt down under control.
The process can be difficult, but can bring back real rewards for the parents in the form of good behavior. For example, if you tell your child you are not serving dessert until after dinner, and the child cries and whines and has a tantrum, if you exercise self control by not giving in, your child will learn that the temper tantrum will not give him the result he wants, and he may actually lose dessert altogether. The learned behavior will be that it is better to wait for dessert than to melt down.
While the Ticket Store Game can help with day to day behavior, here are some age appropriate suggestions for dealing with melt down behavior:
up to 2 year olds: Try to distract them with their favorite toy or activity. As the child gets closer to 2, try a brief time out so that the child will understand the consequences of his actions. Also, praise your child for calming himself. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in getting a message across.
3 to 5 year olds: Continue with the time out, but consider having the time out last until the child has completely calmed down, with no time limit. This will help your child to develop self control, since he will realize that the time out will not stop until he has regained his self control. Again, reinforce the child’s progress and ability to regain control by praise and positive reinforcement.
6 to 9 year olds: As children spend more time in school, they tend to start to understand more about the consequences of their actions. Encourage children in this age group to stop and think about what will happen based on their actions. Help your child to understand that he can walk away from situations that may cause a melt down reaction. And encourage and praise good behavior.
10 to 11 year olds: As children reach this age, they are generally becoming more aware of their feelings and have the ability to think through situations that may cause them to lose control. Help your child to take time to think through a situation before responding to it. They may find that the situation is not as bad as they had initially thought, and as a result, the melt down is avoided.
Teaching a child self control is important since that skill will likely stay with the child for their whole life. Of course, each situation is different for every child, but using these suggestions along with incorporating the day to day concepts of the Ticket Store Game can help your child improve his behavior, and hopefully avoid the melt down!