Everyone has seen the epic toddler meltdown, either bearing witness to one's own children losing their minds, or painfully watching someone else's experience. These meltdowns happen in the grocery store, in the toy aisle at Target, or even at the playground when it is time to leave. These crazy little humans throw themselves on the ground, kick their feet, scream and cry and yell, NO!" as loud as they can.
This may be over something as simple as sitting in the cart, or not getting a toy they want. Or, it may be over the way you picked them up, when they wanted to stand on their own. Toddlers are fierce, independent little monsters sometimes. I would like to personally say I don't negotiate with terrorists, but it isn't always that simple. I always feel sympathy when watching helplessly as another parent takes on a meltdown, and hope their child stops mortifying them as quickly as possible.
However, sometimes a toddler meltdown is just plain hilarious. Whether it is the situation they are freaking out about, or the way in which they throw themselves onto the ground. The fact that they refuse to get back up unless you let them hold onto the cart with a certain hand? Or the intensity of the "fake" crying. Toddler meltdowns make for some great moments.
15 You Broke His Snack In Half
Whatever the snack was, you broke it into 2 pieces to make it easier to handle and bite and chew and swallow. This can be a piece of cheese, a cookie, a chip. Anything that was once whole and has now been broken is prime for an epic toddler meltdown. Shame on you! If you are lucky, this happens at home. If you are on the unlucky side that day, you may find yourself in the grocery store, or even in a restaurant. How dare you try to help!
The hard part is, once broken, as we know, these things cannot be put back together again. And if that was the last piece of cheese, cookie or chip, you are in for it, until your toddler calms down. On the flip side, if you have more cheese, simply eat the 2 pieces (chance for you to sneak a snack) and now you can hand over a perfectly intact piece. Not only have you saved the day, but you got to eat something, too!
14 They Don't Want To Go
Ah yes, the lovely, "I am not going" meltdown, one of my favorites. This might be to school, to Nana's house, or someplace less fun, like to take a nap, a tub, or even to bed for the night. The best of all, is when they are convinced they are not going somewhere, and you agree with them. You are not planning to take them anywhere, but they still refuse to go.
I am not sure how you win this one. Other then putting on some music, and singing and dancing (an activity most toddlers simply cannot resist.) Maybe turn on a movie or open one of their favorite books. If the meltdown is about leaving, and you ARE NOT even planning to go anywhere, I am not sure how much more you can do to convince them of this!
13 Ice Cream Melting
Someone shared this story with me, about a time they took their son out for ice cream. They ordered him an ice cream cone, and he was so anxious to try it, that he dove right in and took a big lick. It started melting (as ice cream often does) and dripped onto his hand. At this point, he started crying because the ice cream was on him. His mom and dad used a napkin to wipe it up, and invited him to take another lick. He had switched hands to get the first drip cleaned, and NOW the ice cream (still melting) as on his OTHER hand.
Of course, he now proceeded to cry about the ice cream being on his other hand, and being sticky, etc. As you can imagine, this created a bunch of back and forth, hand to hand, melting and wiping. All the while, very little eating was going on. Eventually, the entire cone was melted all over him, and the ground. This young man was now even more upset to find out that his ice cream was gone forever and he had eaten very little of it!
12 You Sang Him Happy Birthday!
Yes, the Happy Birthday song....it is quite possible that something as simple as singing your loved one a special song on their special day can send them into meltdown mode. You ask yourself how is this even possible? It's the happy birthday song, and donuts! What kid doesn't want donuts?! Every child is different, and some are easily embarrassed in front of other young children.
Yet some other toddlers may meltdown in this situation for lack of wanting to share. My daughter was 2, and helped me put together her valentines cards with little tattoos in them. The next day, the teachers told me she had a fit when she had to hand out one to each of her friends. "Mine!" she kept yelling, and pulling them back out of her friends bags.
11 Interaction With Animals
Umm yeah, so it's a petting zoo. Pretty sure that you were trying to feed the goat, and he was trying to eat. Everything here seems ship shape to me! No? Okay so the explanation here could be that the goat scared him when he ate the food, or he doesn't like that his hand is wet and sticky and covered in goat spit. Anyone who has fed an animal knows those tongues sure feel creepy! Eww!
Another possibility is maybe he wants to keep feeding the goats and is crushed because now this event is over, and the goats have eaten all of his food. Or, maybe the wrong goat ate his food? His little heart was set on feeding the white one, not the tan one! We may never know, but we sure enjoyed a good laugh over his silliness.
10 He Doesn't Want To Hold Your Hand
I am pretty sure that anyone with a toddler has experienced a version of this episode. The, "I refuse to hold your hand, and you can't make me!" scene that little kids are always trying to pull. It happens on the walk home, or when you take their hand to cross the parking lot. Hell, it happens in the grocery store, and when you are trying to scoop them up at daycare.
Each and every child has that time when they refuse to be held in any way, and would rather throw themselves on the ground and wither around like a worm, rather than holding your hand. You could be going to Disney for crying out loud! Some are just too headstrong, and feel they need to do things on their own. BUT the irony here is, walk away from them, and in about 2 seconds they sit up, scared, calling after you because you are walking away!
9 Telling Them They Cannot Buy Something
So in this case, totally warranted! Other times, eh? It's so hard to draw that line between giving in when they have a total meltdown, just to keep them happy, and deciding to stand your ground over a $1 toy that they probably deserve after being good in the store for an hour. The problem is the meltdown itself! It's mortifying, and now all eyes are on you, waiting to see if you crack. If you give in, you are the reason your child acts like a brat. If you don't give in, you are "that parent" the one who won't even give in over a small toy, Geesh!
With odds like that, why even gamble? Because children are amazing. So we dance this delicate dance each day and tell them the best we can, what IS and IS NOT appropriate. Hoping that somewhere in the madness of not letting them buy the Chuckie movie, but giving in for the Elsa lip balm, that we raise kids strong and kind enough to inherit our world.
8 You Refuse To Let Them Train You
Sure, when they are babies and they cry, you go to them every second. Especially with your first, you run over to the crib concerned. Are they wet, tired, hungry? You will try absolutely everything to make sure they are happy and comfortable. At some point, as they get older, you realize they are in fact trying to train you. They know certain behaviors will cause you to react certain ways. Smart little buggers!
When you really need to be aware of being trained is when they are so damn good at it, that you barely even notice. They drop something and whine. You pick it up for them. They play with it again, and BOOM down it comes to the floor. You are exasperated, but continue to pick it up, telling them to be more careful, You have now been trained that when they drop it, you will get it. Fetch Dog, Fetch!
If you want to break this habit, let them struggle, be mad, sad, etc. They will figure it out on their own, and be better people because of it.
7 You Won't Let Him Eat Unsafe Objects
Styrofoam? How about cardboard? Mmm, yummy! Or the bag that their goldfish crackers came in? Why not, right? Of course they would rather eat the packaging then the snack itself! But don't you dare take it away, oh no! That's when the tantrum consumes them! This little boy was having a Styrofoam cup taken away....apparently he really wanted to eat it! Never mind that he has on an amber necklace, made especially for munching on!
All kidding aside, it's a solid truth that kids love putting everything in their mouths. It is their way to figure out what it is, what it tastes like, texture, and to help stop the pain shooting through their gums, because they will undoubtedly be teething on and off for almost their entire first 2 years of life! Stand your ground, it is never worth the risk of them choking!
6 Something Unexpected Happened
Another time when toddlers tend to lose their cool is when something is not what they expected. Imagine you are at a friend's house, and your little one asks for a cookie. Your friend obliges and comes out of the pantry with an oreo cookie. Well, if your child is used to vanilla wafers or chocolate chip, this just might set off a meltdown. They may kick and scream on the floor declaring at the top of their lungs that this is NOT in fact, a cookie, and refusing to eat it. (All the while, they are angry because they feel you have tried to pass off something that is NOT a cookie to appease them).
Well, low and behold, an Oreo is a cookie. It just wasn't what they were expecting. Toddlers become very set in routine, and like to start to ask for things they know. When faced with the unknown, they buck against it, and can become downright hostile. The example above is a great one...he thought he was getting cornbread. How DARE someone hide a hot dog in there!?
5 Can't Marry Daddy
If you are fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband, boyfriend, or father figure to your daughter, he will absolutely be her first love. This love is unconditional, all consuming, generous, thoughtful, forgiving and kind. He will wipe her tears when she is sad, and tell her that everything will be okay. He will scoop her up when something scares her, and kiss away her boo boos. Sounds like the perfect gentleman, right? So, who wouldn't want to marry this wonderful man?
Most little girls want to marry their Daddy at some point early in life. Apparently, some take it much harder than others when they find out that this is impossible. Firstly, their Mommy is already married to their Daddy, no fair! And then, Daddy's don't marry their little girls! This little one was even dressed for the ceremony and prepared, when someone had to break the news to her
4 Things Look Different
This little boy was just so happy to have given his mother a potting plant for mother's day. He picked out one with a great design, and was content when his Mommy placed it outside in her garden. He looked at it everyday, happy to see that she liked it so much, and had displayed it for all to see. Then, one day, he came home, and something was terribly wrong. There was a plant inside the pot! Why was that plant in there? Didn't the plant know the pot was for his Mommy?
While the mother probably felt great that she had used the pot for it's intended purpose and her son would be excited, his actual reaction was exactly the opposite. Something was different, and most toddlers do not adapt to change very well or very quickly.
3 They Want To Dress Themselves
Most toddlers hit a phase where they want to dress themselves. Either with the clothes you picked out, but they put on themselves (this is the lesser of two evils) or with the clothes they picked out on their own. This is an important step for independence, and helps them to feel that they have some control in their own lives. However, you can find yourself in some interesting situations.
My daughter decided she would wear her tutu from her first birthday party (multi-colored) around the house one day. Sure, why not. Dress up is fine. However, when I had to run to the store, she refused to take it off. Eh, why fight it, it's only a tutu, right? Sure. How about when the outfit is so outrageous that they simply cannot leave the house in it. See above, diaper and Mom's high heels, no go! Expect a tantrum of epic proportion when they find out they cannot don their latest fashion statement.
2 They Got Dirty
No matter the mess; dirt, paint, crayons, markers or even food, most kids will tolerate this for some time, and then suddenly decide that being dirty is NOT something they are in the mood for. My son did this with dirt, he would dig and dig, and find tiny snails, loving every second of the dirt in between his fingers. Then, about 5 minutes later he would scream and cry, shaking his hands wildly, telling me he had dirt on him and needed to wash his hands right now! Even the smallest piece of dirt still stuck under his fingernails would upset him, and I would spend 15 minutes trying to get it all out. Imagine my excitement that once his fingers were spotless, he would request to dig in the dirt again!
This little girl had the same problem with finger painting. How much fun can this be? Paint in between your fingers, making a mess and making pretty designs? Sounds great, until they pause long enough to realize the paint is all over them. Uh oh!
1 No, I won't!
The refusal to go or do anything, because! One of my absolute favorites! It doesn't matter that you are asking him to please sit down on the bench so you can serve him cake or cookies. It also happens when you tell them they must change their shirt. Why? Maybe because they have milk all over it? Nope! "Can't make me!" Sometimes this even comes with a hitting/waving hand gesture in your general direction!
Again, this is another power play to see exactly how much control they have in their own worlds, and exactly how far they can push you! Stand your ground as best you can, or offer some reasonable choices (both outcomes YOU are okay with) and let them feel empowered by making a choice. Otherwise, you may have yet another full fledge meltdown on your hands.
Sources: Buzzflare, SunnySkyz