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3 Ways to Turn Around Meltdowns

If you’ve been a mom of toddlers then you know that meltdowns happen A LOT. 

There’s something about this precious age that brings about a new level of development, yet inability to truly communicate wants, feelings, and the like. Cue in meltdown mayhem and the search for everything under the sun to help remedy the situation.

As a mother of 5 children, two of them in the thicket of toddlerhood, I used to have a horrible perception of meltdowns. 

Misunderstandings About Meltdowns

I would always see it as my children being the ones with the issue; however, after totally dropping the ball with my older two (no mom guilt here, just being honest), I realized I didn’t quite understand what was really going on.


You see, I was (and am still recovering from) the type of mom that matched my children’s meltdowns. I didn’t realize that I whined, yelled, and threw (adult) fits just as much as they did to try and communicate what I expected of them. In total honesty, they were only mimicking how I reacted in less than desirable situations. Until there was a change, we would just go back and forth in our meltdowns.


Initially, learning how to talk to my children without the meltdowns was a lesson for myself just as much as it was for them. This started the search for resources to help us all!

A Resources that Met Us Where We Were


When I found the "Soothing Sammy Program,"I immediately knew that I needed to give it a try. As an ex-early childhood professional myself, I knew the author of this program knew her stuff. What's crazy is having the same background, I didn't think to use my educational background or classroom tactics with my own children. But when I saw how Jeana (author of Soothing Sammy) put the concepts together in a fluid way that would help parents teach their children how to manage their emotions all while building important communication blocks, I knew it was a jackpot.

The story about "Soothing Sammy" is simple enough for children of all ages to understand (even my 12 year old enjoys it.) It takes children on a journey to meeting Sammy the Golden Retriever who helps children calm down by sharing different things in his dog house. Once children are calm, Sammy helps them identify why they are upset and problem solve to create a better solution for the next time they're faced with a similar situation.

Talk about a much-needed thing for this mama too! These intimate moments of reading the story and visiting our own Sammy house creates moments where we are learn to apologize to one another for getting angry and come up with solutions to the problem together. It has become a safe space for my children and has opened many doors that would have otherwise remained shut.

Soothing Sammy taught us 3 ways to turn around tantrums in our house: 

1. Stop and Calm Down

2. Talk/Communicate with each other

3. Problem- solve. 

My kids and I know how to do all of these, and the best part, we enjoy communicating about our feelings, not matter what those might be. 

Easily Incorporating Sammy Daily

With the easily laid out instructions in the back of the books for creating our own Sammy house, we were able to have our calming place set up in no time. My children helped with every bit of it which added more understanding and comfortability with using it. 


Since I have multiple children, each child created their own Sammy house. I also use the parent guide often as it lays out some practical, yet powerful ways, to include Sammy in our everyday lifestyle.

It helps give me ideas of how to remind my children to listen, encourage them to express their feelings in an appropriate manner, follow directions, and not become angry when they are having difficulty communicating something. This has also worked wonders for the sibling rivalry that can take place often.

Sometimes we will sit in a circle and whoever is holding Sammy can talk about their day, how they're currently feeling, and/or how they handled and emotional situation the right way. My husband and I always talk about how understanding our children means understanding how they're feeling. There used to be times where we'd fly off the handle without truly understanding our children's needs. The Soothing Sammy Program definitely helped us, and it'll help you too!

Written by: Michelle Huddleston, MA

Mother of an infant, 2 year old, 

4 year old, 6 year old and 12 year old

Soothing Sammy Program

Soothing Sammy Emotions Program

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