It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like a Tantrum… Everywhere You Go

Parent Tips for Surviving the Season

While not every parent on your Instagram account with idyllic posts about their families would admit it, tantrums in children are a common occurrence that can make an already stressful situation even more frustrating. Considering that the holiday season is generally the busiest time of year, parents often report an increase in meltdowns around this period, and we’re here to help! Read on for some tips in how to help calm a child in distress.

As Christmas and the new year approach, we at CTC would like to wish our families a very happy and joyful season. Every single child that walks through our door is a gift, and for that, we are forever grateful. Whatever or however you celebrate, may it be one full of love, laughter, comfort and beautiful memories. Happy 2024!


Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect

Small pine wants to keep his perfect form as he grows so that the queen may pick him to be her Christmas tree. But after selflessly providing shelter to the animals of the forest, he becomes damaged. This heartwarming tale puts into perspective what is truly beautiful.

Product: Squigz

These fun and engaging sensory toys are great for keeping your little ones entertained while also targeting fine motor strengthening, visual motor coordination and proprioceptive input.

Quote of the Month

Maybe the holiday magic is in the mess.

– Brene Brown

Tis’ the Season for a Meltdown

How to Help Calm Your Child When They Just Can’t Handle It

Ah, the holidays. Lights are twinkling, jolly music is playing, decor is sparkling…and your child is in a full-blown meltdown in the toy aisle of the department store, as you avoid the judgmental stares of holiday shoppers around you. Oh, what fun!

While parents typically feel isolated and embarrassed in these types of situations, meltdowns such as these are extremely common, particularly for children with sensory processing challenges. And the holiday season– characterized by lights, music and general hustle and bustle– can be extremely overwhelming for children who struggle to process the sensory information in their environment.

While there is no magical solution that works to immediately calm any child during a tantrum, there are activities that can help, either during or after the tantrum. Not every technique works for every child, nor will a particular tactic work in every scenario.

Activities to Help Calm Kids During a Tantrum

Deep pressure

Provide deep pressure, either via massage or “bear hugs.”


Hold or sit and cradle your child in your lap, while rocking back and forth or side to side.

Sensory brushing

Consider keeping a sensory brush in your purse/diaper bag and use to softly brush up and down on your child’s arms, back and legs (avoid the tummy, inner thighs or bottoms of feet). It is important to first discuss this technique with your child’s occupational therapist before attempting, to ensure that it is done correctly.

Joint compressions

Joint compressions, when done properly, provide proprioceptive input that helps your child to calm down in heightened situations. Similar to sensory brushing, be sure to speak with your child’s OT to ask about joint compressions and how you can execute this technique appropriately.

Running hands through water

When all else fails, leave your (full) cart and head to the nearest restroom to run your child’s hands through water at the sink. The sensation may help slow or stop the tantrum.

Deep breathing

While this technique does involve active participation from your child which does not always happen in the midst of a tantrum, you can also model deep breaths without having to provide verbal instruction, allowing your child the opportunity to mimic you and calm their overactive system.

Swaddling / Burrito blanket

Swaddle your baby or toddler in an appropriately sized swaddle or roll your child up (head out) in a blanket, like a “burrito.”

Cute Christmas Crafts

Keep little hands busy during holiday break

Candy Cane Reindeer

All this cute and easy craft/treat requires is candy canes, some ribbon, googly eyes, red mini pom- poms and brown pipe cleaner. This one is adorable to gift classmates and neighbors! (Credit:

Tea light Snowmen

Another darling and clever craft will also make your tree sparkle at night: tea light snowman ornaments! Using a battery operated single tea light candle for the snowman’s face, adorn your snowman with a felt hat or earmuffs made of pipe cleaner and mini pom- poms. Don’t forget the scarves (ribbon) and happy faces (Sharpie marker)! (Credit: One Little Project)

Christmas Tree Slime

For many young ones, slime is all the rage! Make your own homemade batch at home, to the delight of your children. You’ll need Elmer’s green glitter glue, sequins, confetti, green food coloring, baking soda, contact lens solution and water (Credit:

Activities to Help Kids Following a Tantrum

Resistance bands

Have your child pull a resistance band laterally, or hold onto one end while they pull the other. Be cautious of snap-backs!

Yoga poses

Lead your child in a series of yoga moves or search kid-friendly instructional videos on YouTube that they can follow.

Bear walks

Have your child walk on all fours, alternating their right hand and left foot with their left hand and right foot with their bottom sticking up.

Weighted balls/milk jugs

Have your child carry weighted balls or milk jugs (i.e., plastic jugs filled with sand or dried rice). Make it a fun relay race game for extra motivation!

Pushing a heavy cart

Place the weighted items in a push-cart and encourage your child to push around the house.

Transferring wet laundry to dryer

Have your child benefit their sensory system with heavy work while also getting some help with the laundry by having them transfer wet laundry to the dryer.

Squeezing Play-Doh/Kinetic Sand

Squeezing Play-Doh or Kinetic Sand can help ease tension and release excess energy.

Tearing paper

Have your child tear paper into little pieces. It may make a mess but if it helps them calm, it’s worth it!

Pushing and pulling Squigz

Place Squigz in a trail on the floor or on the wall and encourage your child to pull off.

While the holidays are idealized as a season of love, peace and sweet memories, any parent knows that this is hardly a daily reality. When tantrums undoubtedly happen, know that you are not alone and that you have some tools, outlined above, to try and make things a little easier. Try to embrace the chaos and still enjoy a special season filled with lots of fun opportunities for family time!

Content of this newsletter was written by:
Megan A. Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP

Please contact Megan with any questions or comments at: