Everybody has bad days, and sometimes we all need to release our negative energy and get out our feelings. Little ones are no different, except they don’t necessarily have the same coping and communication skills. Sometimes all they want is a nap, and sometimes they have a need they are struggling to communicate. Even we adults need to be able to express what we’re feeling and cope with our feelings. Teaching these skills to children at a young age can help them improve their social-emotional skills, grow their relationships with others, and set them up for success later in life.
Here are 3 calm-down techniques for helping a child learn to regulate their emotions, even on bad days:
- Help them identify their feelings. Depending on the age of the child, this will look different. For toddlers and kids in preschool, this will mean helping them communicate if they’re sad, angry, tired, or frustrated. For older kids in elementary school, that may include helping them talk through what made them feel that way. Helping kids in upper elementary school identify the complexities of their feelings is another healthy part of growing in understanding their feelings.
- Help them connect the event that caused the emotion to their feelings. Especially when a child is little, their ability to know why they feel good or bad can be unclear and hard to understand. Showing the cause and effect can help them process and react differently next time.
- Help them get control of their breathing. Breathing slowly is a good way to help regulate the nervous system and bring the mind into focus. Demonstrating the technique of slowly inhaling and exhaling for them while they’re upset and encouraging them to copy you can help their body calm down, and their mind will follow.
Everyone has techniques they use to relax and bring down their stronger, negative emotions. When kids learn to do this early, they do better in school, have healthier relationships, and can get back to feeling positive again.
What are some of the ways you like to help your little one calm down? Comment below and let us know!