Meltdowns spiralling and don’t know what to do

Hey everyone, I’ve posted before about my 5 year old having a bit of a tough time making friends / playing at school.

Lately it just seems like she’s spiralling all day long. She will have a major meltdown after school which lasts up to an hour. Then 20 mins or so of happy play and then an immediate spiral if she doesn’t get something she wants or is upset with what we are doing next.

How do you handle it when you feel like you’re walking on eggshells all day? I have tried speaking to school but they’re very much “oh she’s fine here, no problems, just needs to find her way with friendships etc” which is not that helpful :roll_eyes:

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As you will know, @sunshine children have different temperaments. Some children have more sensitive nervous system and experience emotions more deeply. Highly sensitive children can finding it more difficult to regulate and manage their emotions. I wonder if your daughter is a bit more sensitive than a lot of children. It is reassuring that your daughter manages at school. But like often these children, they let it all out as soon as they are in the safety of home! Highly sensitive children are often thoughtful, deep thinkers, sensitive and will have a lot to offer.
So here are a few tips that may help…
LISTEN & empathise with her – acknowledge her feelings.’ I wonder if you feeling left out today in the playground?’ Or she was hungry? It can be exhausting treading on egg shells , but try not to dismiss and shut down their feelings, as that may make her feel bad about herself, and slow her ability to learn to manage her emotions. Accept her emotions. This is often hard to do as you will probably want to sort it out for her, and to smooth the path! Try to resist . Sit with her, and let her deal with her their feelings. Listening quietly at first, as they settle. Then chat about what happened and what she might do next time.(More detail in the LISTEN section on this in the program)
Model how to deal with strong feelings yourself, chatting about something small you struggle with ; By staying calm and giving it a name helps her understand better and to build more emotional literacy.
PLAN; Be alert to when she is getting overloaded and heading for a melt down; is she tired, hungry, worried about something? Sensitive children may wait until they feel safe and then let it all tumble out, even if it seems to have come from nowhere . (Lots of great strategies about how to head off meltdowns in the PLAN section)
Your little girl child will develop strategies over time to make it easier as she gets older and learns to manage emotions. But aged 5, they are only just beginning that journey! And many adults are still find it difficult…
Find a simple relaxation exercise like counting to 5, or a relaxation exercise they can do such as asking her to use her index finger to it up and down the fingertips of the other hand and back again.
Do let us know how she gets on and which tips were helpful


Oh I’ve just welled up at this lovely response. Thank you so much @Dr_Clare_Bailey, I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to write such a detailed response. I’ve been in tears all weekend because the meltdowns have been so intense and I just can’t cope - it’s hard enough to help regulate her never mind trying to regulate myself.

She is absolutely a highly sensitive child as I didn’t experience this intensity with my eldest. I’m going to go back and redo the listen section of the course. I haven’t actually done the plan section so going to do that this week and hopefully steady us both through it.

Thank you for the reminders and the grounding, I needed it x


Sending you a big hug @sunshine84, my 6 year old is definitely highly sensitive and a deeply feeling child. I completely empathise with the walking on eggshells sentiment - that’s how I feel so often.

The listen section of the course really helped me focus on what my son needs from me in these moments. I’ve gone through it a few times over the last few months when times get tricky.

Hang in there, I know it’s tough :heart:


Thanks @singlemumof1, appreciate the solidarity! Spending some time going back through the course sections that @Dr_Clare_Bailey mentioned and hoping I can ease the intensity of the meltdowns for her x

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