3 Ways to Prevent Meltdowns


"It was a quiet family afternoon, but then the tantrums started - her play purse wouldn't close because it had too many plastic princesses in it - and as much as I tried to explain that it might close if we take one or two "dollies out", I knew the next five minutes were inevitable...

Then it happened..... First her fists started to clench, then her face became bright red.. and then... the high pitched screaming at the top of her lungs...

I don't understand why problems that have such “logical solutions”, could make my three-year-old so angry!"

Have you ever felt this way as you watch your child throw a tantrum? 

You are not alone!  When you watch your child instantly transform from a happy child to an angry child (in a matter if seconds), it isn’t because they are unstable monsters. These little beings don’t know how to process the emotions they are experiencing.

Unfortunately, humans aren’t born knowing how to process their emotions or problem solve. They are taught to us through life experiences, social expectations and loads of patience!


Let’s view this situation from an adult’s point of view.

Pretend that your best friend cancels your plans (that you made a month ago) at the LAST MINUTE… her sister-in-law is in town and has invited the family to brunch …. and she has to go. You already had the babysitter lined up, you were dressed and looking forward to a day out.

So what do you do? Adults seek out calming sensory activities when we feel stressed or upset – such as sipping coffee, chewing gum, going on a walk/run, putting on fragrant hand lotion or smelling essential oils. Take a deep breath in, and chug forward cause hey… it’s your best friend. Maybe, once you are calm and thinking clearly, you are able to come up with a simple solution and spend a wonderful day doing something else.

How did you learn to calm down? Throughout your life, you learned what techniques help you calm down. Your child needs TIME and a PLACE to calm down.

So, what are the 3 ways to avoid a tantrum or a meltdown?


Step 1) Teach your child that everyone has feelings.

According to Robert Plutchick, professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, more than 90 different emotions have been identified! Wow! Children, like adults, have to learn how to deal with this GIGANTIC range of emotions.

Feelings can be intense! Young children haven’t experienced all of the different emotions that you have, nor have they had the practice to develop self-control.  When they feel their body start to “fume” they immediately react.  

Reactions don’t involve thinking about WHY they feel the way they feel. This is why you see young children throwing objects (that they are frustrated with), hitting the toddler sitting next to them (because they are in their space) or kicking at mom when she is trying to hard to get her to sit still in the car seat (even though the child doesn’t want to go anywhere).

What do you do in this situation?

The initial reaction I hear from mom’s are: “I try to talk to them, to encourage them to stop.” Sadly, this approach doesn’t work often. Your child is so upset that they don’t hear a word that you are saying. They aren’t ignoring you on purpose, they really are engulfed in their feelings, not sure what to do next.

So what is the answer? Use hands on and visual tools to teach your child these skills.

I have been working with young children for over 15 years, and have learned that talking to children while they are “fuming” just doesn’t work. Children need time to calm down and process their emotions. Soothing Sammy is here to help!

Step 2) Encourage your child to use words or gestures to Communicate their feelings.

The first part of the Soothing Sammy Kit is a children's book. In the story, children visit Sammy, the golden retriever, at his dog house. They feel upset and Sammy teaches them how to calm down, identify why they were mad and encourage them to find a solution to their problem. Some calming strategies include:  smelling a pleasant scent (like lotion or a flower), crunching on a snack, jumping in a safe spot, humming a favorite song and more!

How do you teach your child to actually use these skills when they are upset?

That's where Sammy the Plush dog comes in. The kit includes a cuddly, soft, plush golden retriever that brings the children's book to life. Follow the instructions in the back for the Soothing Sammy Book to learn how to construct a "Sammy house" (using an empty box or container) for Sammy to live in. The directions include suggested household items (talked about in the "Soothing Sammy" book) to put into Sammy's House. When your child becomes upset, redirect them to visit Sammy where they will be able to use his items to calm down in a safe and effective way.

This house helps children and families implement the calming strategies learned in the Sammy book. 

  • Sammy meets and exceeds all US safety Standards for children ages 2 years old and up.
  • Machine Washable
  • 10 inches long

Once your child is calm, ask them how they are feeling and why they are upset. Your child should now be able to communicate what is bothering them.

For children that are still developing their vocabulary, ask them to point what they are mad at. Maybe they would like to draw a photo about how they are feeling.

Step 3) Assist your child in Solving the Problem.

Once you and your child have identified why they are upset, you can help them solve the problem. Together, decide how you can fix the situation. In Starla's case, taking out two dollies may help her purse close. By including her in developing the solution, she will remember what to do next time so she won't get upset.

The Soothing Sammy kit comes with an 80 page parent guide, offering positive parenting solutions to a variety of common situations (such as eating out in restaurants, going on long car rides, going shopping, sharing with siblings, leaving the park, waiting in a long line, etc). It includes a reflection area in each category so you can make a plan that fits your family.

The children’s book, along with Sammy the plush dog and parent guide was created to support stress-free parenting. When parents have a plan, they are more confident, able to stay positive and learn how/why their little angels are acting the way they are.


Customer Reviews:

"Soothing Sammy is a great book that helps children express their feelings in a positive way. My 2 and 11 yrs old kids love it! My 11yrs old daughter said “I wish I had Sammy in my life when I was younger.” She also had a great time building Sammy’s house. I definitely recommend it." - Maria

"Parenting is hard work! Children do not come with instructions, so knowing how to handle their emotional needs is so hard. Thanks to Soothing Sammy I am better equipped to help my children through their melt-downs and tantrums. Since grabbing this set I have seen not only a difference in my children but a difference in how I handle them in the hard moments. I definitely recommend this set to every parent." - Stephanie

"My daughter and I had fun reading and building Sammy’s house. She loves Sammy! So far it has helped her feel better when upset. She has chosen something to crunch on when mad and then hugging Sammy when sad. We keep it i the living room where she will hopefully continue to use it. " - Jennifer

"Like many kids, my three year old often gets sad and has a hard time expressing himself. Soothing Sammy has helped him identify a toolkit full of tools that he can choose from based on the situation. The tools allow him to calm down, sooth, and verbally express himself so we can address the reasoning behind his emotion. " - Nancy

"I order Sammy for my 7 year old son who sometimes gets angry and has a hard time controlling his emotions. Sammy arrived today and he was very excited to see what he was about. We read the book together and have already talk about how he was going to decorate his home. I am hopeful that this is going to be a great teaching tool for him and that Sammy is going to become a big part of helping him control his emotions. We are very excited to but these new teaching tools into our everyday lives. Sammy is super cute and the book is at a reading level that young children can read on there own. " - Heidi

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