Managing Meltdowns
Learning how to be self and socially aware
during stressful times

 

For most of us the summer means vacation – a time to relax and get away from it all.  All year we look forward to our summer getaways and the excitement grows as the weather gets warmer.  As the anticipation of a new adventure draws nearer, stress levels in the family can get pretty high: the planning, creating itineraries, shopping, packing and money spending can all feel very over-whelming.  Parents can be at the end of their rope before the trip even begins.  Kids even feel the stress, too.  As the family stress level rises the meltdowns begin.  Parents start yelling at their kids out of frustration and arguing with each other. The kids begin to bicker, throw tantrums, and become defiant.

It’s important for every member of the family to know when they are about to lose it.  At WINGS, we encourage kids to cope with their negative, stressful emotions in a healthy way. The best way to deal with a potential meltdown would be to notify someone so they can help you regroup and remain in-control. A great way to express how you feel to others in your family would be to use the Meltdown Meter. When you are feeling over-whelmed announce, “I’m melting…” along with your Meltdown Meter score (1-10) so the people around you are aware that you’re stressed and find the best way they know how to support you. As a family it is helpful to discuss what each person’s score means and how they can be supportive during those times.  For example – When Mom’s at a 9 on the Meltdown Meter everyone needs to leave her alone, when she’s at a 6 everyone needs to support and help the best way they can. When the youngest sibling is at an 8 he takes himself to time-out and when he is at a 5 he needs someone to stop and listen to what he’s saying.

As family members become self-aware by identifying how they are feeling, they also learn how to empathize with each other which can lead to a much more pleasant household.  By using this technique, the meltdowns can be curtailed and the only things melting in your family are ice cream and popsicles!

 

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