by Brie Tucker
“Hangry” is a REAL thing.
So is the “witching hour”.
Not only have we seen our child throw themselves on the floor,
…or stomp off for what seems like the silliest, most minute things,
…but we ourselves, have been known to fly off the handle (or as I like to say “flip our lid”) over something so small and trivial.
Then, we hear that voice in our head say to us “What the bejeezus just happened? Why did you yell about that?!”
I’ll tell you why
…because someone in that scenario felt out of whack and lost their cool.
Just hear me out.
As parents, we have a sixth sense to predict when a meltdown is on the horizon.
We study our children and often become some sort of a “Child Whisperer”.
BUT just because we know a meltdown in on its way, doesn’t mean that we can stop it from coming all the time.
Or can we?
I’d like to share how you can H.A.L.T.- before anyone loses their cool!
What is H.A.L.T.?
H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
What’s great about H.A.L.T. is that it’s rooted in Psychology – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to be exact. It states that people have basic needs. Those needs must be met in order for them to fully function. And those bottom 3 needs for everyone- are represented in H.A.L.T.
How do you use it to stop a meltdown in your child – or even for yourself?
At the first sign of pushback or where you’re starting to feel irritable, it means to stop; take a breath and ask yourself these 4 simple questions- Is anyone:
This can be the culprit of so many meltdowns (in both adults and children). I mean, it has it’s own slang (Hangry)!
However, this is often the easiest one to prepare for and to alleviate. My kids know that when mom gets really cranky…I’m typically just hungry.
What you can do: When going out, try to always have a few snacks with you.
Before a long day of running everywhere, make sure that not only do your children eat but that you eat as well! So grab a Snickers (sorry guys…I couldn’t help but make that iconic reference when talking about being hangry), or a protein bar or whatever you can to help ward off the unnecessary meltdown due to low blood sugar.
This one can be a little more difficult to identify.
For two reasons:
1. We don’t all have articulate “emotion language” to describe how we are feeling.
2. Emotions can sneak up on us. We like to think that we have it “in check” better than we actually do…until…BAM! It hits us like a ton of bricks… a massive emotional meltdown.
What you can do: ASK YOURSELF- how might you or your child be feeling (whoever is having the meltdown)?
Did something happen today or very recently that might be causing some really big emotions (most likely anger) to take over? If so, let’s address it.
Give yourself and your child permission to not only say that you or that they are angry… but also helping them work through it is such a gift! If you need more help, look into our course for kids Emotions 911.
Even as an adult, I sometimes have no idea that I’m feeling lonely until I am receiving comfort from someone else.
What you can do: HUGS! You can never go wrong with offering a hug! And even those simple words of I love you. I guarantee that no matter who needs it (you or your child) it will have an almost instantaneous, positive impact on both of you!
Ahhhhh…this one is a huge culprit. Typically you can see it in your child’s eyes! Assuming they are still open.
However, this one isn’t as simple as stuffing a snack in your purse or offering a hug. You can’t just stop what you’re doing and take a nap anywhere, anytime (trust me, I’ve tried!).
While that does sound like heaven to me, even suggesting sleep to an overly tired child is like poking a bear!
What you can do: BE PREPARED!
Try to ensure that everyone gets enough rest as consistently as possible.
As we all know in parenting, even the best-laid plans can go awry. So even if you did everything right, but somehow, exhaustion is prevailing, it’s okay to stop, and even come back later to finish the task. Because…being tired doesn’t just go away, your body is in need of rest, and until it gets it, you will be fighting an uphill battle.
So the next time your child throws themselves on the floor, or you feel like you are just about to flip your lid and lose it…take a breathe and H.A.L.T. Chances are, you will be able to solve the situation before it even starts!