Everyone always says kids need a routine. And while that is definitely true, it helps to change it up as they grow. Your routine certainly isn’t the same as when you were in high school or college, right? Recently, Maggie’s morning nap was leaving her not quite tired enough to take an afternoon nap, but plenty tired enough to having a meltdown every night at dinner. But dinnertime is important for many reasons in our home. First of all, eating dinner together as a family has proven to be a great way to bond and show your children that you care. Secondly, my husband and I get anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to catch up on our day. And third, since Maggie has cystic fibrosis, she has to eat a high calorie diet. So we have to get every bite of food in her that we can. This isn’t easy when she’s screaming her little blonde head off.
A change in her routine was inevitable. She stopped taking morning naps five days ago and made the switch to a single afternoon nap, and her behavior has improved remarkably. Sure, she still screams every once in a while like any toddler. However, the screams are easily stopped and don’t turn into a full-fledged temper tantrum. Success!
So before you throw in the towel and start dishing out timeouts, start thinking about why your child might be having a meltdown. With children who have special needs, that could vary greatly and you should talk to your child’s doctor in case there is a medical reason such as pain or discomfort. But, usually, it could be as simple as changing naptime, changing the amount of time between meals, getting them involved in more challenging activities, or just getting a change of scenery. Their little brains and bodies are growing fast and as they get older, more change is sure to come your way.