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So, what are the 3 steps 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?

Give them time. Allow your child to process their feelings and provide them space to calm down independently. Once calm, they will be ready to have a conversation with you.

How do you make sure they don't hurt themselves or objects?

We already learned that our sensory system is a powerful way to calm our nerves when we are upset. Using child-friendly sensory tools will also help your child. They key is to have a box filled with sensory objects to give to your child so they can use them on their own.

How does my child know how to use these items?

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. The key is to teach your child how to use these items before they become upset or overwhelmed. Children learn best with objects that are visually appealing and tangible (objects they can hold.) I wrote the Soothing Sammy story so that children can learn these calm down skills in a ways that is easy for them to remember and implement in times of stress.

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.

      Once your child is calm, ask them how they are feeling and why they are upset. We have included our "Emotions and Feelings" activities that teach a variety of different emotions that children can feel. With over 90 different feelings/emotions, it is hard for children to put those feelings into words. These activities provide opportunities to learn this vocabulary and to identify some of these new feelings in themselves and others.

      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 that was written by Jeana Kinne, MA, 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.

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      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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