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Published August 26, 2013, 10:00 PM

Tips for avoiding and coping with meltdowns

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Krissy Nelson remembers how alone she felt as a mother dealing with the stresses of parenting.

By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Krissy Nelson remembers how alone she felt as a mother dealing with the stresses of parenting.

But, she soon realized after talking with friends about her struggles as a mom, she was far from the only one. So, she started a website and blog dedicated to parenting.

Krissy, along with child therapist Joni Medenwald of The Village Family Service Center in Moorhead and psychologist Holly Hegstad of Knowlton, O’Neill & Associates in West Fargo, offered tips for parents who are experiencing meltdowns.

E It’s OK.

“Remind yourself that it will pass, you’ll figure it out,” Medenwald says.

E Take a time out.

Krissy retreats to her bedroom during a meltdown – other parents might use a pantry or bathroom as a “safe spot.”

Wherever it is, use the spot to collect yourself and calm down, Hegstad says.

E Breathe.

Taking 10 slow breaths and reminding yourself that you love your children can help, Hegstad says.

E Practice self-care.

Have “me days” and don’t be scared to admit that you need time alone, Medenwald says.

She recommends using drop-in daycares if parents are having a particularly rough day and just need a few hours to run errands or relax.

“It’s good for you and the kids,” she says.

Getting enough sleep and exercise are also part of self-care.

E Be organized.

Planning days can help eliminate the chance of meltdowns, Hegstad says.

E Plan downtime.

Scheduling time to relax might seem silly, but it’s important to have fun family time and fun adult time, Hegstad says.

E Use your support network.

Reach out to other parents, support groups, church groups, friends and family, Krissy says.

“We parents need to get together and talk about this stuff,” she says. “We need to not be ashamed and be empowered. We have our limits, and that’s ok, we’re only humans and we can only do so much.”

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