Monday, September 8, 2014

Meltdown Baskets

Children from the hard places can bring on lots of parenting challenges. As an adoptive parent, I have to get creative to teach my daughter discipline and self-regulation-something she has never had for 7 years. Those two things do not come very easy around my house, especially since I am a first time mom. Learning curves can knock us in a loop, but I am steadily learning patience. So I've created these meltdown baskets to help with the loss of control and emotions.

Definition of a Meltdown: When a child or adult (let’s face it, we have these too!), starts to lose control or feels loss of control of a situation and starts to act out inappropriately. This loss of control can take the form of kicking, screaming, throwing items, back talking, breaking things, or displaying a ray of emotions (crying hysterically, laughing at inappropriate times, anger or rage) within a short period of time.

I have created two meltdown baskets. The first one is for my daughter or any other child that come over to our house. I have chosen a variety of items for this “kid” basket and most of the items will require an adult to be nearby for supervision.

Kid's Meltdown Basket

Items in the kid meltdown basket: Green store-bought playdoh, Lavender-scented playdoh, sensory jars, a coloring book w/ crayons, small notebook for doodling, favorite Dr. Seuss book, emotion plates, shape blocks, and glitter bottles. This is currently what we have in this basket. I hope to rotate and add some different items so that little bit doesn’t get tired of seeing the same old stuff when she is having a meltdown, although I will keep her favorites in the basket.

When my daughter needs to regulate her emotions, she grabs 1 item from the basket and plays with it for 5 minutes. After her time out we can discuss what went wrong and make mends. Our “fighting” episodes have decreased as she is able to verbalize that she needs to calm down and she knows what is expected of her after she calms down. It has taken us a couple of months to reach this point but I am so glad we stuck with it. She understands that we can’t talk to her when she is not regulated and once she is we are able to talk about the problem and find a solution together. This basket has honestly saved my sanity at times!

Well, I can’t give my daughter a meltdown basket without giving myself one. Being a first time mom to an easy to love, hard to raise child, it is hard to keep my cool at times. If you are a parent of a special needs child or adopted child, you have those days where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. And you-the parent- can't regulate yourself enough to deal logically with your child, you need some time out with your own custom made meltdown basket.

Mommy Meltdown Basket
 Items in my mommy meltdown basket: The Office and Saved By The Bell dvds (my favorite tv shows), the movie Elf (my favorite movie) and Kung Fu Panda (my daughter's favorite movie), a bag of coffee, a can of coke, reminder notebook, crossword/soduko puzzles, and my favorite candle.

I give myself time outs when I can't seem to think logical, especially when emotions are running high. I can light my candle, make some coffee, and watch a couple of episodes of The Office (which make me laugh) and I usually feel regulated. If this doesn't work, I put on Kung Fu Panda for my daughter and catch up on chores that need to be done around the house. After some time to cool off, I can think logical with my daughter about the issue and we can work out a solution.

You can put anything inside your mommy meltdown basket that makes you happy or helps you to calm down. Some ideas are chocolate, favorite book, video game, or work out video.

What would you put in your meltdown basket?

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