Have you ever wondered how to calm down your two-year old after a meltdown? Maybe your not sure when it is the right time to transition from a crib to a toddler bed. All of these questions and more were answered at our parent workshop last night which focused on living your life the Montessori way.
Below I will highlight some of the key steps to follow when handling those challenging “moments.” I will also touch on some questions that were asked and provide you with the tips/resources that were given.
Handling those challenging “moments”
- Tell your child exactly what is going to happen – Before going into the grocery store, have a pep talk and explain what everyone’s role is going to be. For example, “We need to pick up groceries for dinner. I will read the list and you can help me find those ingredients.” Let them know that you are only buying the items on the list.
- State the expectations “You need to stay by my cart at all times, if you wonder off we will need to leave the store.”
- Give them a forewarning “In 5 minutes you will need to clean up your blocks for dinner.”
- Set appropriate limits and boundaries
- From your child – Listen to and acknowledge their feelings
- To your child
- Emotions – Acknowledge and identify them ” I can see you may be feeling angry because Joey stole your car.”
When is the appropriate time to transition from the crib to a toddler bed?
When your child is showing you that they are craving more freedom and independence (ex. “I do it myself”) then it may be time to think about transitioning to a toddler bed. When you decide it is time, be sure to include your child in the process of picking out the bed, bedding, etc. make it a fun shopping trip! When the bed is all set-up, then you need to set the expectations as to what they can do in their bedroom since they are now able to move around freely at night. Maybe you allow them to read 5 books in bed before going to sleep. Also, remind them that when it is dark outside it is time for everyone to get their rest, including mom and dad. If they are having difficulty staying in their room and continue to raid the kitchen or wake you up, try placing a baby gate in front of their door. That way they can still see you but they are learning boundaries.
Another suggestion was to place a Tot Clock in your child’s room. The tot clock changes colors that signify when it is time to stay in bed and when it is time to get up. If the clock is blue that means you have 5 more minutes before bed time, once it turns red you are to stay in your bed and when it turns yellow you may get up.
How do I help calm my child down when they have a meltdown?
The first thing you want to do is invite them to a quiet space where they can express their emotions freely. Maybe its a soft pillow in the corner of the family room where they can sit and release their emotions (crying, yelling, kicking,etc). Once you have redirected them to their quiet space, acknowledge their emotions and say, “I can see that you are feeling angry because I did not let you have the cookie.” You can tell them that you will sit with them for a few minutes until they’ve calmed down or you may say “I will give you a few minutes to calm your body and I will check back with you when you have calmed down.” After giving them a few minutes to express those feelings, you may offer them a tissue and a cup of water to help calm them down. As it is quite difficult to drink a cup of water when you are breathing/crying heavily! 😉 If your child is younger and unable to articulate their feelings clearly, it is suggested that once they have calmed down to let it go and move forward. If your child is older and able to communicate their feelings to you, you may revisit the situation once everyone is calm and discuss what happened.
A final bit of information that is sure to be beneficial to you at home is our favorite book – No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury. All of the teachers have read this book and agree that her methods mirror the Montessori philosophy a great deal! Run out to the nearest bookstore today and pick up your copy!