Three Simple Tips to Diffuse a Tantrum
Every parent has been there. Your child just loses it. They cry, scream and act like a wild animal. It is completely normal, especially when they are tired, frustrated, sad, angry or hurt. Children get worked up over nearly anything—a skinned knee, not being able to wear their favourite pair of shoes, not being able to shower before their sibling, or not being able to find their favourite toy. Some moments are well worth a tear or two while other moments are more insignificant and may seem irrational. Regardless, as a parent, it is our job to defuse the situation and calm them down.
The number one rule for me when one of my three children get upset is to stay calm. I have learned through trial and error that my children tend to mimic my behaviour. I stay calm, they stay calm. I get worked up, they get more worked up. Keeping cool is essential in calming my children out of a tizzy.
Here are three tips that I have used with success when my children get nervous, upset, frustrated or challenged:
1. Teach Your Kids to Breathe
Teaching your children to breathe when they get upset can really have a powerful effect. Simple breathing. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the nose. Teach them to place their hands on their belly and observe the belly expand on the inhale and shrink on the exhale. Long, deep, powerful breaths can help a child get their wits about them enough to calm down. Also, teaching children to connect with their breath at a young age will only help them as they grow older.
2. Teach Your Kids to Meditate
I learned a great meditation from Gabrielle Bernstein (motivational speaker and author of Spirit Junkie, May Cause Miracles and Miracles Now). This particular method is a mantra from her book Miracles Now. It is perfect for young children because it is so simple. The idea is they continually repeat this phrase when they get upset. You can accompany this simple saying with a very relaxing hand gesture or mudra.
"PEACE. BEGINS. WITH. ME"
Peace (touch thumb and index finger). Begins (touch thumb and middle finger). With (touch thumb with ring finger). Me (touch thumb with pinky finger).
This has worked so well in our family I have heard my girls teach it to their friends. It is their go-to to calm down when they get really upset.
3. Teach Your Kids to Communicate
Talk to your children. Ask them questions. Don’t be pushy but make them feel comfortable talking to you. Encourage them to talk to you when they are not upset and this will give them confidence and security to express themselves when they do get upset. Be open rather than forceful when you communicate with them. Very often this will lead to a mirroring of behaviour and their methods of communication will evolve. Make communication a safe way to express your feelings and emotions.