Have you noticed lately that your child is having difficulty calming down when they get upset? Their tantrum lasts minutes, a half hour or even a whole hour! It seems that their emotions are getting so big that they are unable to rationalize or reason about why they are this unhappy. You want to help them and make sure they are safe, but right now you are feeling stuck.
It is important to remember that when children get upset, they aren’t able to use their rational and logical part of the brain, so they might not be able to tell you why they feel upset. Helping them get to a calmer place so that they can think more clearly will be beneficial for both you and your child.
Here are some coping tools to help your child calm down when they are feeling upset.
Tool Number 1: Take Deep Breaths
We all could use some deep breaths to regulate ourselves in these intense moments! Deep breathing sends messages to our brain to calm down. One way that you can introduce deep breathing is to make it relevant to things your child likes. For example, you might tell your child to “smell the flowers” or “smell the yummy pizza” and then to “blow the bubbles” or “blow out the birthday candles.”
Tool Number 2: Make Some Music
Do you remember when you used to rock your baby and hum or sing a song to them to help calm them down? Rhythm is extremely regulating for children, even when they aren’t babies anymore. When your child is having a hard time calming down, sitting with them humming their favorite song or any slow and rhythmic song can help them reset.
Tool Number 3: Become Mindful to the Present Moment with 5-4-3-2-1
Dependent on your child’s age, this mindfulness exercise can be helpful in distracting from intense emotions and helping them come back to the present moment. You simply name 5 things you can SEE, 4 things you can FEEL, 3 things you can HEAR, 2 things you can SMELL, and 1 think you can TASTE. You can even do this together so that your child feels safe and not alone in this overwhelming moment.
Tool Number 4: Take a break
Sometimes your child might just need a safe place to cool down on their own. After validating their emotions and telling them that you are there for them when they are ready, find a place for them to take a little space to calm down from the situation at hand.
Tool Number 5: Providing Sensory Input (Giving a Big Hug, Putting on Weighted Blanket, Taking a Shower)
Some kiddos find sensory input to be extremely regulating. A couple of examples of sensory input as a coping tool include, giving your child a big bear hug, putting a weighted blanket on your child, or having your child take a hot shower. These can be helpful in calming your child down in the moment.
So those are my five tips for helping your child calm down when they are feeling upset.
For more parenting tips on managing your child’s anxiety or anger be sure to subscribe to our free parenting newsletter, Parent Matters, where we help you raise safe and informed children.
Don’t parent alone.
I help children and families navigate trauma, transitions, and other mental health needs. My goal is to bring about meaningful change for both you and your child.
Parent Matters Blog
Resources to help parents raise safe and informed kids.
QUICK LINKS TO POPULAR ARTICLES
If you’re like most parents, you balance many tasks, work hard every day to provide for your child, and find that time is of the essence. You want to help your child make positive choices, problem solve, take responsibility, and manage their feelings. The problem is,...
What Parents Need to Know About Their Child’s Social Development During Quarantine: A Short Age by Age Guide
We all know family time is important, but with COVID-19, quarantine and social distancing may have you wondering if we’ve got too much of a good thing on our hands. As our society chugs along and kids of all ages are spending more time out of school and away from...
For many parents of children with special needs, resilience during COVID-19 is your secret weapon. From the day you learned of your child’s unique challenges, you’ve been problem-solving and overcoming the unexpected for the benefit of your child. Melissa Winchell, a...
As a parent or caregiver, this is a pretty stressful time of life. Every year, with the thought of back to school prep, you’re probably a bit overwhelmed. But this is a different kind of year. It’s back to school in a pandemic. With emails and talk about what the fall...
We help anxious kids and frustrated parents. We serve Hinsdale & the Western Suburbs of Chicago.
Made with ♥︎ in Hinsdale, Illinois for Chicago
Built By Brand Your Practice.
© 2020 Kid Matters Counseling, P.C.