Let It Go: Moving on After Toddler Meltdowns


toddler tantrumsRecently, at the bus stop, after a meltdown of epic toddler proportions, my son and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Me: Hey, buddy, I’m sorry I got frustrated this morning. Sometimes when you get really upset, and I don’t know what you need or how to make it better, it makes me feel frustrated. I love you so much! I think now that we’re getting some fresh air we’re both going to feel a lot calmer.

Henry: Motorcycle drive fast! Vroom! (Pointing excitedly to a passing motorcycle).

Me: (In my head) What?!

After a moment of stunned silence, I started to laugh. His response was the reality check I desperately needed in that moment: he was already over it! I had beaten myself up the whole walk to the bus stop – rehashing his meltdown and my response, brainstorming ways to do better in the future – but he had already moved on.

Having a toddler has taught me a lot about patience, but it has also taught me about the importance of letting go. A light bulb went off for me this morning at the bus stop when I realized that it’s okay to apologize and explain my actions, but it’s also okay to take a cue from my son and just move forward. I’m the type of person who likes to process and talk things out things before moving on, but that’s not always a realistic or effective approach with a toddler. I’m learning that sometimes all Henry needs is a quick hug, a snack, or a fast-moving vehicle to switch gears after a tantrum.  

What I need after a massive meltdown is to get some fresh air and vent to a good mom friend. I’m also learning that it’s easier to shake it off when I’m patient with myself and accept that I can’t always handle things perfectly. Mamas have big feelings too!

We all know that toddler tantrums are developmentally normal, but they can be emotionally draining for everyone involved. Do you have any tips or tricks for letting go and moving on after a tough time with your little one?


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Kate grew up in sunny San Diego and is a beach girl at heart. She moved to the Bay Area to attend Cal (Go Bears!), where she studied Sociology and met her husband Zack. She has a Masters in Education from UC Santa Cruz and taught middle school in Santa Rosa and Austin, Texas before her son Henry was born in 2016. The family of three moved to San Francisco in February 2017 and miss good barbeque, but enjoy exploring the city together. Kate loves spending time outdoors with Henry, usually hiking or hanging out at the playground. When Henry is sleeping, you can find her cooking, curled up on the couch with a new book or working on her headstand in a yoga class.


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