When I envisioned becoming a parent, I never envisioned myself trying to mediate between a tiny human and their emotions, but as a parent, that has become a major role in my life. And while much of what we do as parents is calming our children down, it’s also important to empower them to deal with their emotional states.
One way in which parenting experts advise this be done is through self-calming strategies. There will come a day when you are not there with your child to soothe them and bring them back down to the center from their emotional states. When that day comes, you can either hope that someone else is there, or you can help equip them with the knowledge that will one day push them towards emotional maturity.
While ‘self-calming’ strategies might sound like some hippie-dippie mumbo-jumbo, it isn’t. Imagine if all the people on our planet were equipped to manage their own emotions and productively deal with them? Needless to say, things would be in a much better state.
With that being said, here are 5 self-calming strategies for angry children.
1. Do a deep breathing exercise.
Breathing exercises can help us to calm down when our emotions seem too intense, and they can also help your little one to do the same. Instruct them to put their hand on their tummy, and to breathe in through their nose for three seconds, while their hand rises from their expanded tummy. Then, have them breathe out through their mouth for three seconds. Have them repeat a total of four times.
2. The 54321 technique.
This is a mindfulness exercise, that will help pull your child away from their emotions and back into their body. Have them name 5 objects they can see right now. 4 objects they can feel or touch. 3 they can hear right now. 2 things they can smell right now. 1 thing they can taste right now.
3. Create a calm spot for them.
If you have the room to do so, even in a small area, create a calm place for them. It can be a fort made out of sheets, a small room, or whatever you can think of. Have calming music in it, a calming toy or blanket, soothing lighting, and perhaps even a sensory activity. Use this area as a place for them to go sit when they feel upset or overwhelmed.
4. Help your child express their needs.
If you have an older child, they likely need someone to talk to from time to time. However, when you do, mind your responses to what they say. Listen to them. Don’t interrupt, ask questions to help them process what they are telling you, and don’t judge them.
5. Encourage them to use physical activity as an outlet.
When your kids are tense, get them moving. Children are filled with energy and when that energy has nowhere to go, they will get frustrated and act out. You can get them boxing gloves and a small punching bag, or just let them run and play. Other forms of exercise could be kids’ yoga, going for a walk, playing kick the ball, or riding their bike. Do what works for your child.