Every parent has known the nightmare of a child's tantrum: those out-of-control incidents that can last forever. And many parents just don't know what to do when their sweet little one has a meltdown.
But Dylan Dreyer, mom to Calvin, 4, and Oliver, 1, noted Monday on the 3rd hour of TODAY that she has a special tip that works with at least half of her brood — and it's super sweet.
"This worked with Calvin; for some reason it does not work with Ollie," she explained to 3rd hour co-hosts Craig Melvin and Sheinelle Jones. "But whenever Calvin was having these meltdowns — you know, like hitting the floor, really angry — I read somewhere that if you say, 'Do you want a hug?' it just kind of, like, jars them."
And once they're snapped out of their angry spiral, that's when parents have a shot at calming them down. Dylan continued, "He would come over and give me a hug, calm down and then we can talk about why he was upset."
Sheinelle said she was going to "steal" Dylan's idea, she liked it so much.
Experts say that the end of the summer break from school can really put some kids into a tailspin; they've spent months without the regular, comforting routine of classes and seeing their friends, and the prospect of starting over again can be stressful.
Of course, that's not the only reason a child may feel overwhelmed enough to melt down, and there are many ways to cope with those feelings depending on the child's age. It can start with acknowledging the emotions and responding to them in an appropriate way, Anthony C. Puliafico, Ph.D., associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, told TODAY recently.
Be sure to check out this link, which provides a number of other great tips for calming kids down, from getting them to focus on something else (like a hug!), "cookie breaths," a quiet coping corner, or just changing locations.
Bear in mind that what works for one child may not unlock another. Dylan admits her hug strategy hasn't played out well with Oliver yet. "I'm not sure if he's too young or too stubborn," she said.