This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

You can see it coming before it even happens.  The tantrum and tears will be flowing soon. You’ve seen a few eye rubs, their attitude has changed from happy and playful to grumpy and frustrated.  Your little one is tired and doesn’t want to admit it. They want so desperately to stay up a little longer, run around the kitchen a few more times, or read one more book.  But their little bodies are shutting down and a meltdown is imminent. How do we avoid those sleepy kid blues?Well, unfortunately I don’t think there’s any way we as caregivers can avoid these loud and stressful meltdowns every time, but here are a few things my wife and I do to try and minimize the amount of times we have to deal with them, or at least minimize how long they last:

-Consistency – It can be really tough, but we try really hard to keep our daughter’s nap time open in our schedules.  Life doesn’t always allow us to do this, but if we are putting her down for her nap at close to the same time every day, her mood and attitude throughout the day tends to be better

-Healthy snacks – Listen…sweets and desserts are delicious and we definitely enjoy them!  We just try to make that last snack before bed be a healthier choice that isn’t loaded with sugar that may influence a sugar rush or…even worse…a sugar crash!

-Calm activities – We try to end our hyper, rough and tumble play at least a half hour before we start to get ready for bed.  We give warnings on this too so it doesn’t come as a surprise.

-Adjust – We try really hard to keep the same routines at night and before nap time…but sometimes you just have to laugh at the hilarious face they made while drinking their milk, or sneak in one more surprise tickle.  Sometimes they really do need just one more hug in order to go to sleep! We don’t let our routines get out of control, but being flexible on certain nights every now and then leads to some really special moments and lets our kids know that we’re human.

What are some things you do to help your kids avoid the sleepy kid blues?

This is fatherhood…