the IT city, the I.T. Baby


4YO tantrum modification (where I sound like a loon)

We had some major troubles the day after our oldest turned four going on for about five weeks straight in which she would have a meltdown at school every single day and have no idea why, or the triggers were so inconsequential as to not even matter to her.

TL;DR no cost dietary change and behavioral change coincide in admitted non-objective junk science article. Like seriously, this either works or it doesn’t and it doesn’t cost anything to try.

The day after her birthday I assumed cake, over-excitement, the party were contributing factors, afterward it got bad.

Tantrums/meltdowns would happen about once a day, school or not. Usually when I observed them there was no cause (she didn’t want anything, she wasn’t hurt, she just switched to bad mood.)

With the behavior she was exhibiting, beyond grounded is where she reached. Nothing seemed to make any difference. I’d drop off a happy kid going to school and the teachers would tell me a couple hours later that next to nothing happened but a meltdown ensued.

We’d have a friend of hers over on the weekend and at some point for no real reason tantrum would ensue ending the day/night for her, also no real reason why.

Now meltdowns are common in the preschool crowd, and they happen a lot at her school. My kiddo is different. Not only is there a meltdown involved, but she’s louder than anyone else and takes way way too long to calm down. Loud enough that putting her in a classroom by herself to blow out the tantrum still is extremely disruptive to the classes on either side of said classroom.

There’s no reasoning when she hits breakdown. And the punishments we were giving her were ineffective even with escalation – toys withheld, treats gone, no TV or iPad, cancelling visits with friends, by week four of the every-day tantrum at school and home we had more of a prisoner than a kid.

Yes, hugs were given.

The problem was she said she had no idea what was going on. These tantrums were the twenty minute variety, so even if you talked to her immediately after calming down chances were she was not going to remember why she blew her lid. Even catching her at the start she had no reason why she was headed to tantrumtown.

We changed her bedtime, a week through that and no change. Offered rewards for better behavior. No positive change, if anything it was worse. Recited a whole bunch of scenarios that might be happening at school to see if she was being bullied, nope, nothing beyond light teasing. We had a meltdown at around 11am every day going at school.

It was either around lunch or before nap when hurricane Maggie would make landfall.

So much talking to someone who kept up with the same answer – she didn’t know what was going on, she didn’t want to cry, she usually wasn’t trying to get anything, she didn’t want to leave class, she didn’t want to be freaking out for no reason.

I hit the internet and it mentioned a couple of things right off the bat. Several psychological trauma which needed a child therapist, and giving your kids vitamins to help calm down tantrums.

Vitamins… ah ha – a light went on in my head.

Vitamins might hold the key to this mystery, but not in the way the various articles were advising.

One of the things Maggie had been looking forward to when she turned four was that she now got two vitamins a day. While I’m sort of on the fence about giving a kid vitamins, she is still in the 90th percentile on everything, eats badly (oh, she’s given good food, just her mind and then her body wanders,) and I have nothing really against vitamins.

Yes, I know what most science says about average people and vitamins. Maggie’s height and weight indicate a four year old driving a six year old’s body according to the CDC.

When she turned four she started getting two vitamins. Two vitamins are enough for 100% of the RDA of most things for up to a 10 year old.

Monday I took vitamins away from her in the morning. No calls. I gave her them when she got home. Hurricane Maggie struck later.
Tuesday we gave her one vitamin. Got a call but she managed to be calmed down. Gave her a second later. Grump but no issues.
Wednesday 1 vitamin in lunchbox, second after school. Another call, also managed to calm down.
Thursday and Friday with that schedule no issues.

Weekend had one issue that turned around. A vitamins had been given about four hours before.

Monday again and T-1hr to end of school day and no calls.

We also armed her with a couple of mechanisms to alert teachers when she was getting angry, none have been used that we know of.

Kirkland Signature Children's Complete Multivitamin Gummies

What I believe the issue is vitamin B6. Her dose for a 3-yo was 143% of the RDA, and just a day later when she turned four, she was taking twice that. Could have been B12, any of the vitamins, or her just easing out of a meltdown mentality due to me taking the vitamins away in the morning.

So I guess the only real way to know now will be to try and trigger it, which is not something I’m particularly planning on doing.

Operating theory is vitamins were giving her crazy energy.

Anyway, that’s my crazy theory. You can try it for free.

It either works, or it was a coincidence.

Update 5/18/17

One issue where she was disruptive at school but they didn’t bother calling. No total breakdowns. Maternal grandfather mentioned issue with B-vitamin energy drinks which was

Some other people seem to have this issue, writeup on, more on the B vitamins I think were causing issues with M (I should note, these are all assumptions I’m operating under and the cause may not be this – junk science, so far working for my kiddo)

Update 5/22/17 re 5/19/17

In the interests of science, or more accurately I forgot what I’d determined and I said she could have a vitamin and she took two, she got two vitamins Friday after school at 4ish. At 7:30 or so the “don’t want to” arms crossed stomping screaming started. The bad mood went on until about 9 when she finally got to sleep.

Some testimonials from adults given to me about going loco with 4-loco and energy drinks have convinced me that that, combined with having next to no medical use in a kid with a balanced and nutritious diet, vitamins are going away for a while.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.