Kindergartener Melt-Downs: What Works for You?

Ever since my 5 year 0ld started Kindergarten, she has fallen apart immediately after getting in the car. Once, it was because she couldn’t be a bus-rider. She just wouldn’t hear the fact that the bus doesn’t even come to our house! Today, she got it in her mind that she wanted to go to the swimming pool after school. The pool isn’t open, and she completely lost it.

I know she’s just overwhelmed with Kindergarten, and the added responsibility of being a “big girl,” but what should I do? Ignore it? Punish her? Make her go to time-out? Try to understand what in the world is going through her mind?

Anyone who has any insight would be greatly appreciated. If not, I would love your prayers!

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About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)

Comments

  1. stay calm and remember her life has changed so much.
    we went to baseball tonight and the one 2nd grader didn’t want to play. I don’t know why but he didn’t. The mom got so mad and told him she’d “beat your butt (used a different word) right here in front of everyone” I understand that the mom was frustrated but that didn’t help!
    love on your girl and when she’s ready to hear the reasoning, like the pool isn’t opened, talk to her. or, drive there so she can see.
    Her days are so much longer than normal and she’s not used to it. If she’s behaving in school and doing this to you then she feels comfortable at home. That’s great. Only it’s really hard on you. It’ll get better. I would not punish her or get mad at her though. She just needs to work through it.
    That is my opinion, right or wrong.

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  2. She’s just been thrown into a huge transition in which she no longer has any control over her day. All day long someone is telling her what to look at, when to eat, when to go to the potty, etc. It could be she’s mourning the loss of freedom and is frustrated when the person who used to try to meet her needs – you! – can’t make what she wants happen (the bus, the pool). She doesn’t understand or care that things are impossible. She just wants what she wants. I don’t know what to tell you to DO except saturate her with your love and attention and, as much as reasonable, let her have some freedom when she gets home. Sorry, that’s hard. No experts here. Just my 2 cents.

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  3. I totally agree with both comments above. One things to add…try a little more protein in her lunch, or perhaps a snack waiting in the car. If her blood sugar level plummets it’s hard to deal with anything.

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  4. When my dd (also 5 and in Kindergarten) acts like that, she usually needs some time to herself, in a quiet place, so she can get a grip. If I try to reason with her, she just gets more hysterical. But some kids get more hysterical when left to their own thoughts…

    And yes, food cures all kinds of problems.

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  5. I’d also try giving her language to express her feelings – “it must feel very frustrating to not be able to ride the bus like your friends”, or “it can be hard to have to sit and learn for such a long day”, or whatever the issue of the day is. Sometimes just being heard is enough, and this could give her the tools she might need to make herself heard without coming apart at the seams.

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  6. Wonderful advice, Ladies!! Thanks so much! Sometimes when you’re in the situation, it’s hard to step back and see what’s really happening.

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  7. I agree with all the previous comments. My daughter is now in 1st grade, and kindergarten was a huge transition for her. We had all kinds of meltdowns, and we stopped all her extracurricular activities. I would just try to stay calm and empathetic as the previous comments said. She is going through a lot of changes.

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  8. Pray.
    Pray with her and for her. I’ve found that when my kiddos are having a hard time with something if we just stop right where we are and pray about it it makes a world of difference.

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  9. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    I totally agree with what Cyndy said – pray. And maybe if you talk about the feelings she’s having at a different time, she can start to understand them herself.

    The other things I did with my son was to get him to bed even earlier – he really needed extra sleep to help with learning so many new things – and to make sure that he had a really good breakfast and a calm morning (if possible!!).

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  10. It sounds like you have gotton some good advice. My two cents: Whatever happens, stay calm. If you overreact, they pick up on that. I’m praying for you. Blessings.

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  11. When my son (who also just started kindergarten) loses it, I give him the choice to pull himself together or go take a nap. He absolutely hates the thought of taking a nap, so this usually nips the whining in the bud. I also love that his school allows the kids to bring an afternoon snack if they want to. If that’s not an option you might have something for her in the car. It’s hard to complain with a mouthful.

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  12. I am soooo experiencing this right now. My son just started kindergarten, all day. He attended an all day preschool/daycare, so I figured that part of the transition would be minimal, but the kid is exhausted which causes him to melt on every little issue. We are also struggling with the morning (he is a bus rider) and him not wanting to get on the bus.

    Plenty of sleep is my best advice. A well rested child is so much more pleasant.

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  13. You gotta love her! She’s your little drama mama. I agree w/ the advise you’ve been given. I sometimes tell mine I’m going to strap them to the hood. It works sometimes ;o) JK! You are a great mom, reassurance goes a long way! Love ya!

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  14. Jaime, I just love you! And you’re right, she’s a drama mama. I wonder where she gets that from?

    BusyMom – Maybe we could switch. That way, your son can be a car rider and my daughter can ride the bus!

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  15. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says:

    I had to laugh when I read this, Sarah! Hannah’s been complaining about riding the bus and asking why she can’t be ‘parent pickup’… 🙂

    I’ve got to think that it’s the transition coupled with being overtired maybe? We’ve had our share of meltdowns here too, and I’m sure that it’s just getting adjusted to the new schedule and all of the changes.

    Good luck!! 🙂

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  16. Oh Dear Lord… my now eight year older cried every single day of Kindergarten until Christmas. It got to the point where the principal would come out in the mornings and sometimes carry her into school. She started to see the school couselor on my suggestion and it seemed to help. Seems she would talk to her about how she was really feeling. The biggest thing for her was it was the first time she was away from her younger sisters. So we made her a little photo album to carry in her backpack and she could look at it when she was missing us during the day. That really helped as well. And not to discourage you but she is in the third grade now and she was a complete crying mess just yesterday when I was (Literally!) 2 minutes late to pick her up. I think some kids just worry more than others. I have to say though, that Cyndy may have the best one….just pray with her each and every morning. Good luck!!

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  17. My kindergarten kid wants to be a bus rider too, and just like you the bus doesn’t even come by our house… makes for lots of drama. Among other things, plus she is just tired from being at school for so long. I have tried quiet time with her when my son takes a nap, and that helps.

    I feel your pain!

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  18. You have gotten a lot of great advice and I’m a little late to the bandwagon because I started back teaching…and well, I’m tired so I know the kids are. I think exhaustion plays a huge role. Every year I have parents tell me there kids don’t nap yet for the past 6 years all but about 5 kids have fallen asleep on a daily basis. School schedule’s are so different and demading that children have hard time realizing they are tired and working through their emotions…which explains the kid I had today that cried ALL day long. Anytime I moved, she cried…

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  19. Noah had big issues last year at the beginning of the year of Kindergarten. he was just so tired and overwhelmed, home is a safe place to let it go. I have to agree with the comment about blood sugar. We changed Noah’s breakfast to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I know it’s weird) but it is amazing how much better food like that sticks with them through the morning and his behavior got WAY better. Good luck.

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