Mama Miller Parenting

Passionate parenting and homemaking.

Calming Down

on August 9, 2012

My son is a highly dramatic kid.

When I say dramatic I mean crying (real and fake) at most uses of “no”, asking for a band-aid with every bump, and acting out everything with funny voices to match. I absolutely love his creativity, but no so much on the tantrums.

Teaching him to calm himself down has been a big focus in our house for the past few months. It is so important to empower little people to regulate their feelings. They need to be taught that it is ok to feel sad or angry but it is not ok to engage in hurtful behavior.

Earlier today my 3 year old wasn’t following directions. His continued refusal to listen had a consequence- he lost his train box for the day. His reaction was to scream at me about wanting his train toys and trying to hit. I told him, “I know you want your train toys but you chose not to listen to mommy and lost them for the day. I know you are angry but we don’t hit when we are angry.” This is the point where he has to have another way to work through his anger and deal with his emotions. He told me he needed his “calm down ball”.

Modeling his calm down ball.

We have a balloon filled with grains to serve as a stress ball. When he gets angry or needs to calm down he pulls his dining room chair to the wall and squeezes his ball to calm down. Sometimes it helps for kids to have a physical distraction while they get their emotions under control. I’ve also seen parents (and teachers!) use calm down jars filled with glitter. You shake it up and let them watch the glitter swirl and settle while they calm down.

Blowing out his candles to calm down.

We also have a few things we do on the go. When we have play dates with cousins, our little guy (being highly dramatic) will sometimes get upset with how another child plays. He doesn’t always understand the concept of “taking a deep breath”, so we have started telling him to “blow out his candles”. He holds up three fingers (because he is three) and pretends to blow them out. It gets him breathing and most of the time can diffuse the drama.

There a ton of great ideas out there for teaching your little ones to regulate their temper. It is so very important to start teaching them to calm themselves at a young age so that they will be able to do so as teens and adults. Stress management is a life skill and must be developed over time. Find something that works for your little one and stick with it. As they get older it will change and evolve. Encourage your pre-teen or teen to keep a journal or listen to a certain song when they need to cool down. It is much easier to teach when you are both calm. Remember to take a deep breath yourself!

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2 responses to “Calming Down

  1. fourformom says:

    Thanks for including my calm down jar in your article! And I love the idea of telling them to pretend they are blowing out candles (my current method of “do your yoga breathing” didn’t have the same impact….;).

    • Thank you. I had seen calm down jars popping up on Pinterest and I really liked your tutorial. I had been telling my son to “take a deep breath” but it made him mad. He loves playing birthday party and the candles work well. It gets him breathing and he starts thinking about one of his favorite play activities.

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