It’s 6 o’clock. Cue the meltdown.

Talk to any parent of a young child, and they’ll tell you. Young children often save their biggest meltdown moments for the early evening time (around dinner). Reasons: They are tired. They’ve spent most of the day trying their best to “behave” at daycare, preschool, or at home. So, by the time the clock strikes 6pm, they are exhausted (although, of course, they would NEVER admit it!)

music helps toddler meltdowns

We have a solution to offer… Use music to head off, smooth over, or maybe even eliminate, those late day meltdowns. 

Here are a few ways you can use music to ease the evening angst and transition more smoothly into the nighttime routine.

  • Keep them busy (and near you!) while you’re busy. Pots, pans, and wooden spoons can turn into musical exploration and play time. Some lively, happy music can invite lots of musical play and keep a smile on everyone’s faces.
  • While the pasta is boiling, dance around the kitchen with your child. When your child is tired and cranky, what they often crave most is a little extra attention from you. Hold them tight or make intentional eye contact as you dance together.
  • Listen to relaxing music routinely every evening. Consider setting up a playlist of you and your child’s favorite music for calming and unwinding.
  • Use music as a timer. For example, “It will be time to eat after four more songs.”
  • Use the timer on your smart phone to cue your child. Pick a specific song that is only played when your timer goes off. Your child will become accustomed to knowing that when the timer goes off, it’s time to transition to something else such as dinner, bath, reading time, snuggles, or lights out.
  • Make a special habit out of singing (or listening to) a lullaby or two after tucking your child into bed.  The quiet, loving ritual will calm them – and you – and also have them quietly settling down before you know it.

And when a meltdown does happen, take a deep breath and stay calm.  Focus on what you want your child TO DO (take deep breaths, go to a quiet place to “get themselves together”) instead of focusing on what you DON’T want them to do (cry, scream, kick, hit).  And afterwards, take a little time to cuddle up together, rock quietly, and hum a little lullaby.

What’s your favorite Parenting Tip to control the evening chaos at home? Share on our Facebook page.

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