Being a kid isn’t always easy. They tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and when they’re angry or anxious they’re not afraid to let the whole world know it. An admirable trait in theory; but it can be overwhelming, and often leads to a whole lot of tears – for both the parent and the child. So, how do we help our kids calm down? Here’s a few ideas to help you cope.
1. Hug it out
Not only does a good hug feel great, it also comes with some seriously awesome side effects. A 15-20 second hug can reduce blood pressure, increase feelings of well-being, and reduce the harmful physical effects of stress. Plus, hugging helps your body produce oxytocin, one of the hormone that helps your immune system function.
2. Read a book
Read at story to your kid, or have them pick a up a book and get reading if they’re a little older. It redirects their attention, gives them something new to focus on, and is a naturally calming and quiet activity.
3. Blow some bubbles
Blowing bubbles can help kids regain control of their breathing, which can transfer right over to their mental state. Plus, they’re pretty to look at and fun to pop!
4. Shake a “calm down jar”
An easy and fun craft to make, “calm down jars” give your child a focal point for a few minutes giving their brain and body a chance to reset itself. Fill a jar with colored water and glitter and get shaking.
5. Get artsy
Visual arts can be a great stress reliever for kids and adults alike. Break out the crayons, paint, and crafts, and make something beautiful.
6. Rock your worries away
Plunk yourself and your kid down in a rocking chair, or let them rock on their own if they like. The repetitive and soothing motion offers an almost instant sense of peace.
7. Go to your “calm down place”
Pick a designated area of your home to serve as your child’s “calm down place”. Make it comfortable so it can serve as a consistent and calm place for them to retreat to.
8. Take a walk
A little fresh air and exercise can help clear anyone’s head. Added bonus: walking has a natural rhythm that can be self-soothing.
9. Change your surroundings
A simple switch of scenery can work wonders. Having meltdown outside? Move indoors. Getting angry and frustrated inside? Head for the great outdoors.
10. Have a dance party
Put on your kid’s favourite tunes, get your grooving, and I dare them to try to keep a smile off their face.
11. Get musical
Put on some mellow music, or make some yourself if you happen to play an instrument.
12. Squish some putty or play-dough
It’s therapeutic and it feels so good! Make your own or keep it simple with the store-bought stuff.
13. Count to 10
It’s a classic calm down technique for a reason. It lets the brain reset itself, gives your child a chance to see things from a new perspective, and gives them a moment to think before hastily acting.
14. Watch some fish
Stay with me here. It sounds a little random, but studies have found that watching fish swim in an aquarium can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. No wonder they’re a common fixture in doctor’s and dentist’s offices. Head to your local lake, aquarium, or pet store for some fish therapy. Or, turn to the internet for all the fish videos you can imagine.
15. Get moving
A little exercise can go a long way. Get your kid running, jumping, or skipping, and watch their mood transform.