Monthly Archives: December 2016

Handling Meltdown and Tantrums at Christmas

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Getting ready for the festive season can be so exciting for children. They may not be too aware of what it is all about, but they sense that the home they live in, is twinkling like stars, there’s a funny looking spiky green thing, which their mummy calls a Christmas Tree, covered in colourful balls and sparkles, and their keeps being a man mentioned, someone call Santa Claus.

They sense something is on the horizon. They are given a new toy, and if they are anything like my child, will throw it as soon as it is put into their hand.

We then say “No Henry, don’t chuck those toys, only balls we throw”, but then at Occupational Therapy he is given an activity where he is to throw little bean bags, so I can understand the confusion. However we have to be weary in case it is something heavier like a brick, as if it hits someone (such as another child) it could hurt them, so we are teaching him that we throw a plastic ball for example but not other items. Not only that, it also teaches him, when we tell him off for chucking his toys, that a toy is to be respected not thrown, and the toy must be played this way and we will then demonstrate.

He will then often have a tantrum, because we have taken the toy from his hand he was chucking. We do give him a warning first, before doing so, so he knows it is wrong and by carrying on his behaviour there is a consequence.

This in turn teaches them what is right and wrong. The important thing I have learned is the reaction you give. I have learned from Henry is that, sometimes he is throwing a toy for a certain reaction; Or having a tantrum, to get a reaction.

We will then give him a warning, to say “Stop or you will go to your room to cool down”. If he does continue we will follow our warning through, which is highly important, and we take him to his room to calm down. This does work.

The worst thing I have found to do, is to rant and rave yourself, as all it looks like is that you have now become the child having a tantrum too

With children I have found that the anger they show, through their tantrums is more to do with frustration rather than to be naughty. It is important to talk to them to encourage them to speak, even if they are like my son, have development delay in speaking. Our son usually gets angry because like with hitting and biting, he is usually trying to tell us something but we aren’t picking it up, so encouraging them to show you and tell you, is a good place to prevent tantrums and encourage their communication to you. The best thing to do is to:

  • Step back
  • Observe
  • Step in

Today when we were queuing to see Santa at Henry’s nursery, a little boy in front, got really frightened at seeing Santa Claus, and he wouldn’t go in to see him.

I can see why young babies and toddlers would be scared. They have no idea who this big fella with a red suit and white beard is, so some children will be weary.

What I have learned, is if they do get panicky and start to scream, is to encourage them to calm down, and tell them everything will be okay and Santa is a nice man who delivers the presents for them on Christmas Day.

Another idea to help a child who may be a bit frightened of Santa is to get another child to go in with them, aswell as yourself (the parent or grandparent), because if they see that their big sister for example is okay with Santa, it may help them more to see that there isn’t anything to be frightened about.

If they are completely hysterical, having a meltdown and it looks like nothing will console or convince them to see Santa, then I would take them out of the situation, but don’t fear about trying next year.

Many children aren’t aware of Christmas and what it really is all about until they are much older, at which they may be fine when they get older and they know more of who Santa Claus is.

If a child starts to get upset over a toy they want, but it isn’t in store, it’s sold out or it is beyond budget then I would again take then out of the situation. Take then back in once they have calmed down and get down to their level, and say “We will go to the toy shop, mummy or daddy isn’t able to buy you that present you saw today, but if you are good then we can choose something else”.

As Henry (my son) is not a fan of shopping and always makes a fuss when I look around the shops, I will find a good time like when he is at nursery or daddy is with me, to go and have a look.

Sometimes it is best to buy a toy when your children aren’t with you. They are not able to see all the choice and I would, if you are buying for similar aged children to try and buy them the same things if possible. It will save arguments later.

Children will often want what another child has, so if you buy them all the same thing, then they are less likely to have a tantrum.

Or as I have spoken in my Children’s Christmas Gift guide this year (see video below), is buy them a joint present like a game or puzzle that they can both do. This can help save money on the Christmas budget and encourage children to play together and share.

I would also encourage them to choose a gift for nanny or daddy for example, this will then teach them that Christmas isn’t just about receiving gifts but about giving too.

Make Christmas decorating or shopping into a game. Have your children see how many baubles they can put on the tree and time them. Or see how many toy cars they can spot, and give them a selection of 2 or 3 they can choose from. Never more than 2 or 3 as they can become overwhelmed.

Example you are in a toy shop and they have some Christmas money given to them and so you ask them to choose a toy.

A place to start is to say “here we are, you can choose one of these toys” and show them the toys by picking them up from the shelves to show them. If they fuss and want more than one, then explain make it into a story, that Santa sent the money and that on his instructions mummy is to offer you one of these toys, if you want another one then you will need to be good boy or girl again and perhaps Santa will send or let me buy it for you next year.

Get them to right a Wish List, and say “You may not be able to have all these on the list, but I will pass the list to Santa Claus and see what he can do”.

Never make promises that can’t be kept, if you do make promises always follow through with them, it is surprising what children remember, when you don’t.

Many thanks for reading,

Carrie X

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Hearing test and Eye Test

Henry a couple of months ago, had an eye test and has two lots of hearing tests too.

He does have a bit of development delay, so they wanted to monitor (at the health clinic and our local hospital) out anything that could be causing issues with Henry’s development.

You can’t get him to point at things, very much, but he does know what certain things mean. Like he now knows that water is something he drinks and nappy change is changing his bottom.

The hearing and the eye test both went well. With children the hearing test is done via the Audiology department of in my case Epsom and St Helier Hospitals.

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Hearing Test

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The first appointment was late afternoon and wasn’t our usual hospital under Epsom and St Helier but in Bourne Hall in Ewell Village. I didn’t get to choose the appointment this time round as sometimes it is what they can fit in. You will usually be sent a letter and they will let you know of numbers to call, if you need to rearrange. However it was quite close in date and so I thought it won’t harm just one afternoon.

So we went along, and what the hearing test consisted of was two speakers and the Audiologist starts to play with some toys, like building bricks or a puzzle for example, and then the speakers either side will make a sound, and if Henry turns towards the right one of the speakers that is making the sound then it will light up, and inside each of the speakers is a cuddly toy.

Henry was very co-operative during this point and did really well but then shortly after he started to get fed up and began throwing some of the toys. So then his ears were checked inside and then they test for any water in the ear that could effect his hearing, but Henry had enough by then and was not going to co-operate, but the Audiologists said that they couldn’t see any issues and his hearing was fine, but another appointment would be arranged. I advised for it to be booked in the morning, as later in the day can be tricky and Henry can be a bit less co-operative due to tiredness and it was around near his dinner time.

He did have another hearing appointment and has another, coming up, but they aren’t too concerned at all. The second appointment did go a lot better, but when it came to having his ears check inside again, he began to fuss. So they will try next time.

However it was a learning curve for me, as I had no idea until the first appointment how they check a babies and toddlers ears, and was an insight for me aswell as Henry.

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Eye Test

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Two or so months ago I finally get a letter for an eye appointment for Henry to attend his first eye test, to check that he has no eye site problems. I already had to change his first appointment because it was early and at St Helier hospital in Sutton, where Henry was born, and was too much of a trek to get to, so I asked for the appointment to be moved to a later time or to my local hospital.

Very happy it was changed. Still an early appointment, but was moved to our local hospital around the corner to me. The eye test consists, of seeing the eye nurse first who will go through some tests. to see if he sees the bright lights on some squeaky finger toys, so she can have a look at the front of the eye. Then she holds up boards with pictures and letters, but as he does have speech delay and won’t always talk when asked, he didn’t say any of the shapes shown. However she said that the front of the eyes appeared to be okay.

Then I was asked about my medical history and other members of the family whom have or had eye site issues in the family. Then thought great all done. However the bomb shell was hit, I had to stay there for another hour for them to put eye drops in Henry’s eyes, then have his height and weight checked.

So I was like oh great, so I changed his nappy to save a bit of time and then put some bits on my phone to entertain him, plus some snacks. I just wished I had, had more of an idea of what the eye test consisted of as a heads up, so I knew to bring some of Henry’s toys with me.

However least I know for next time. They have to wait 20 minutes or so for the eye drops to work, they basically help clean the eyes so the doctor can check behind the eyes.

Henry did okay, they put some special glasses on, which at first i could see he was like “What, what are you doing?”. Then he began to laugh but then did become restless.

It didn’t take long once seen by the doctor who was pleased but again, another appointment has been arranged in a few months time to make sure. They think that Henry has a slight Astigmatism like me, and may later on need glasses but are not too concerned for now.

I just wished I knew more of what they involved before going along, and had a bit of an idea of how long I and Henry would be waiting. Children, especially Henry don’t always know about waiting. They don’t understand the concept, they just know that their legs travelling and their eyes can see, so want to run around and explore.

I hope you fellow parents find this blog helpful, so I can give those who like me had no idea what these were about and to help give heads up so you do.

Many thanks for reading,

 

Carrie X