When emotions are high, things can get ugly fast, especially when you are dealing with a tiny person who has HUGE emotions. During these moments, you may struggle to understand how to help your child move through their emotions and reach a sense of calm, but thankfully, we have some helpful tips that will help you tackle tough emotions like a boss.
It’s important to remember that some adults even have problems dealing with big emotions, so we must understand that little one who hasn’t fully emotionally developed should be expected to have a difficult time doing so. When your child comes to you with big emotions, the last thing you want to do is invalidate them or punish them for having emotions. Instead, it is your job as a parent to help them learn how to calm down in the face of their struggles. Below, I have listed 7 ways you can help your child calm down.
1. Go for a walk.
When your child is dealing with big emotions, take them for a walk. Not only is the walk distracting but nature is naturally calming, so both of those things will help your child to refocus their attention and clear their mind.
2. Count to ten.
When your little one is upset, shallow breathing tends to follow because they are upset and anxious. When you guide them to calm their breath by counting to ten, you are refocusing their attention and helping them to calm down.
3. Help your child to expand their emotional vocabulary, so they can label their emotions.
Even when your little one is not upset, you should always be labeling emotions. This will help them to understand what their emotions are, so when they are feeling a lot, they can explain what is going on instead of showing out in other ways. For example, let’s say your little one is at the park and you notice a little boy fell down and skinned his knee. You could say, “He is upset and sad and hurt because he bumped his knee.”
4. Help them understand the difference between anger and acting out.
When your child is angry, recognizing the difference between feeling these emotions and acting on them can be quite helpful. You can say, “I know you are upset. However, throwing things and hitting others is unacceptable.”
5. Help them take deep breaths.
When they are in the midst of a major emotional moment, direct them to take deep breaths. Guide them to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth. This will take their anxious breathing back to normal.
6. Distract them.
It may sound crazy, but kids have small attention spans. When all else fails, distract them with a movie or a game.
7. Listen to them.
The first key is to listen. Even if you think you know what they are upset about, listen to them. Ask questions, reassure them and let them explain what they are feeling.