• Catherine Silcock

What is the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown?

They are not the same thing!

Although both are a signal that your child needs help.

· Tantrums have a purpose and are generally due to trying to get something they want or need (be it the chance to go first or have your attention or a sweet) and can be controlled to some extent.


· A meltdown is a reaction to feeling overwhelmed (too much stimulation).


Tantrums are best dealt with by acknowledging what your child needs without giving in. Helping them to see there are better ways of achieving what they want. Consistency is the key.

Meltdowns demand you find a safe, quiet place to calm down.

Reduce the input coming at your child as best you can. Then for the future trying to work out what has overwhelmed them and developing strategies to help them cope.


Possibly the hardest thing to do is to model calm behaviour. Do not be drawn into joining in their behaviour- easier said than done! Because I certainly know my child having either a meltdown or a tantrum triggers me.

· Try to take time out (if possible) to calm down.

· Developing a calming down tool-box between you can help, we have helped with this in our Hatch Programmes.



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