When kids (or adults) are hopping mad their words and their reactions can be quite ugly and nasty. When you can’t calm down, self-regulate, and manage your anger, it can have lasting negative effects. For an adult, it can be adulthood that lacks meaningful, long term relationships. This is a high price to pay for not learning to control anger since relationships are a huge indicator of long term well-being and happiness.
For children, this shows in different ways, but the main consequence of angry and uncontrollable reactions is social rejection. Anger in children prevents friendships, and not having peer support at a young age will often lead to not having fulfilling relationships later in life. This is a huge reason that teaching your kids to regulate their emotions is an important life skill to have.
Being aware of our own personal reactions to different situations, when we are being a role model to our kids, is important as we try to teach them how to calm down. Our kids are going to learn to respond to situations the same way we do and hopefully our responses are how we want our children to respond.
Go To a “Calm Down” Place
Instead of making the need to calm down a negative thing (like a “time out”), we can turn it into a positive thing by designating a place (or multiple places) where we can go to calm down. Use this for both kids and adults.
Go Outside For A Walk or Run
Getting outside to play and getting some exercise are both wonderful ways to calm down. Kids with ADHD who exercise for 10 minutes get more benefits than medication (check). This is a great activity to do together.
Take A Deep Breath
When we’re upset, we tend to do a kind of shallow breathing that keeps us agitated and anxious and isn’t conducive to calmness. Slowing down our breathing can help our body physiologically calm down itself, which leads to a much calmer mental state.
So, during the stress response caused by a negative situation or interaction, we really need to just breathe more deeply for a little while. This can be standing up, sitting down, or lying down. We can practice together and find the “best position” for ourselves.
Count To 10 or to 100
Do this sometimes in your head (not out loud). Just pausing before responding can help prevent things we don’t want from coming out of the mouth that we later end up regretting. Teaching our kids this skill can be a life-changer.
Listen To Some Calming Music
Have a playlist handy on your phone that is happy/calming music. Have one just for your child too. if they’re older then encourage them to create their own calming playlist
Any gratitude practice you do can help calm you down because you can’t hold the two physiological/mental states of anger and gratitude at the same time. If you jot down a note of a few things you’re grateful for you’ll feel much calmer after.
Look At A Funny Video or Meme
If you can laugh you’ll change the negative emotions and be able to calm down. Plus, a good, hearty belly laugh is just good in general.
This is a very simple thing that could be appealing to your child as one way to calm down. Holding them still and breathing with them, while giving a loving hug, can help them calm down.
Loosen Up You Muscles
Stretch or do a yoga pose . Doing these things can help you breathe and bring a calmness to your body that will calm in your mind.
Sit Quietly And Have Something To Eat And Or Drink
This could be part of going to the relaxation spot, or it can be its own calming technique. Just sitting quietly is a way to remove yourself from whatever stressful encounter or situation is at hand.
Empower your child to figure out what works best for him/her to calm themselves down. And continue practicing all these together. The valuable life skills of being able to calm down will lead to better relationships and success, at home and at work, throughout your child’s life.