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how to calm down a hysterical 4yo?

(8 Posts)
sleeplessbunny Mon 10-Aug-15 20:07:54

Advice please. 4yo DD has just made herself sick with hysterics, she has now thankfully gone to sleep but I don't think I handled the whole affair very well and I'd like some advice on what to do if she gets like that again.

I've noticed over the last couple of weeks she has been making bigger fusses over little things, and I've been trying not to react as I believed it was basically attention seeking behaviour that she'd picked up from a friend she's been seeing more of during the holidays. But this evening it escalated rather quickly: it started with her rubbing her eye and saying it was sore, I had a look, it seemed OK and I assumed she'd just had an eyelash or something and that the irritation would pass if left alone. Tried to distract her with bathtime but she started with loud wailing about her eye (not her normal upset crying) which soon turned into hysterical sobbing and ended with the vomiting.

My reaction was unsure: I do think her eye was bothering her but there was not a lot I could do about it, I did offer eyedrops but the mere thought of that sent her into more hysterics. I tried telling her to calm down, giving cuddles but the screaming and sobbing definitely got worse when I did that. I gave her an icepack and she screamed it was cold. etc etc.

After a while I kind of gave up and tried to leave her to it but that didn't work either.

I suspect this won't be the last time so does anyone have any advice on how to handle this better next time?

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 10-Aug-15 20:21:40

Is she overtired or hungry? could you just not see this friend?

sleeplessbunny Mon 10-Aug-15 20:28:41

perhaps over tired, I've been trying to get them to bed earlier but we're now down to getting home and only having 30mins before bathtime, I'm not sure how I could get them to bed any earlier.

The friend is actually the CM's son. He's a lovely kid, but he does do this instantaneous fake crying which is very noticeable. He doesn't get hysterical with it though.

VoyageOfDad Mon 10-Aug-15 20:32:47

I heard once that in extreme cases where they get caught in a loop, you put them in the shower and turn the cold water on...

... Probably counts as child abuse these days.

LastGleaming Mon 10-Aug-15 20:37:37

Goodness I've just had exactly the same thing with dd tonight, even down to the trying to encourage her into a bath or shower (normally loves the water) which made her more hysterical and vomit. She scratched my face and said after she had no recollection of doing it and I can believe her she was that away with it. We've had a big day out today and I think she's overtired herself and ate too much junk.

No advice as I don't think I handled it very well myself. I would like to think it was me holding her tight and getting her to focus on her breathing that sorted her out but I think it was the vomiting that made her settle down to the hitched cry. Maybe the good thing is I might see the trigger happening next time?

OutsSelf Mon 10-Aug-15 20:42:26

My 4yr old is a bit more volatile than usual. My thinking is that it's probably developmental which means you probably can't prevent or cure them, nor can the child really control them. In this situation calming and comforting seems to be the kindest way through for everyone.

It does sound like your DD was genuinely upset - maybe about her eye, maybe she was picking up on your slight scepticism, maybe she's a bit overwrought about something and just letting it all out. Again, calm comfort can't really hurt. You won't be feeding dramatics if you aren't dramatic yourself and it's always worth being kind to your DC imo

slkk Mon 10-Aug-15 20:48:13

Often a shower or bath works here (not cold, obvs). No persuasion, I plonk him in. He generally calms down and feels a lot better quite quickly.

sleeplessbunny Tue 11-Aug-15 07:38:02

Thanks everyone. She seems to have completely forgotten about it this morning. My instinct was to cuddle & comfort her so I was a bit alarmed when that just made it worse. I don't like the feeling of not being able to help.

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