But what about the times during a road trip when it’s meltdown city. Your child has had enough, you’ve had enough, and everyone just wants out of that car for a little bit of time. It has happened to all of us, trust me. Suddenly, for whatever reason, that car begins to feel really small in size, and more space is needed to be able to get comfortable and calm. Then, add that to the noises and complaints that are being made by others, and it can almost be a bit too much to bear. Have no fear! There are ways to handle a meltdown on your road trip!
If you’re child is toddler age or up these tips will help you out.
Handling Meltdowns in the Backseat
- Stay calm. Easier said than done at times, right? It’s much easier to yell to them in the backseat to stop the crying. But this will only escalate things! If you are driving, you need to stay calm for the safety of the vehicle and everyone in it. And if you’re a passenger, you also need to stay calm to be a good example for everyone else who is having a meltdown. Bottom line? Stay calm. Take deep breaths, focus on the end goal, and allow yourself to think to yourself that everything will work out just fine.
- Wait it out. Meltdowns can be sudden and loud coming from your children, but when traveling down the road on a trip, sometimes that best and easiest thing to do is just wait it out. Your child is having a reaction to something stemming from an emotion that they feel is unfair or necessary. Rather than trying to talk over them, just let them get it out. A little part of us can understand that at times, our emotions just take over, right? Think of that on a kids level where they just can’t seem to understand some of their larger emotions. If a meltdown is happening, let them work through it on their own before you make any type of communication or conversation with them.
- Just give them a hug. Sometimes, kids have NO idea why there are even having a meltdown! Emotions are confusing and hard to process, even as adults. When your little one is melting down, surround them with love! If you are able to pull over at a rest area or have another adult in the backseat, try asking them if they would like a hug and let them be upset. It’s better for them to get it out of their system than to keep it pent-up inside.
- Distract them. It’s agonizing to everyone’s ears if someone is screaming in the backseat. Not to mention the oncoming headache and grumpiness from all adults. It happens. Instinct is to yell but you and I both know that won’t work. The child needs something to make them happier. If you can wait it out, offer them something else in exchange for a quieter backseat. I love to keep things in my bag for such an occasion. A small slinky, a new coloring book. Visit the dollar store before heading out on your trip and find a couple of little toys to throw into your bag in the case of a scream fest in your backseat!
- Take out the electronics. This goes along with the ‘distract them’ tip. Pop in a movie in the DVD player, give them your iPad with a movie they haven’t seen yet or a familiar favorite movie (that you downloaded before the trip). For everyone’s sanity, do what you can to help ease the situation.
- Be patient. When all else fails or you’re not able to pull over, then it’s time to just be straightforward and explain to them over the yelling, that you aren’t able to give them your full attention right now because you are driving. This will probably be met with tears and wails because they may not even understand why you can’t turn around and talk to them and help them through it. They will have to wait until you can help them appropriately. Don’t put yourself or your car at risk if you are driving. Even though your child may be having a meltdown, they are usually fine besides having a bit of emotional distress.
Traveling can bring out a lot of different emotions for kids and adults. If your little one starts to have meltdowns, just understand that they may be feeling out of their element on the road trip. If you can’t distract them with the snacks you packed or activities to do in the backseat, let them know you are there for them and reassure them that you are trying to get the destination as quickly and safely as possible.
What do you do to help meltdowns on family trips? Would love to hear your thoughts!