Big emotions like anger or frustration can be hard for children to control. They may hit or yell to act out their feelings. Children feel more in control of their emotions and calmer in stressful situations when we teach them how to manage their emotions. There are a variety of strategies you can teach a child to calm down.
What we know:
- Children feel stress, just like adults. They can be stressed about things like needing a ride, getting bullied at school, or being scared of the dark.
- Simple skills can help children handle stress. This short Raising Caring Kids “Mindfulness” video explains how deep breathing, journaling, and yoga all help children feel calm and better able to handle stress.
Practice breathing or mindfulness to help you and your child better deal with difficult emotions. Mindful Schools shared research showing that mindfulness creates changes in the brain that help us deal with emotions and stress. Mindfulness also helps children be more positive and liked by their peers
Create a mindful jar (as described by Mindful.org) with your child by filling a jar or empty water bottle with glitter and water. When your child gets upset, shake the jar and practice mindful breathing with them until the glitter settles to the bottom of the jar. Tell your child that strong feelings are just like the glitter when it is shaken up. There is glitter everywhere. When we are still and let a little time pass, our feelings settle like the glitter and our minds become clear again.
Print this as a 1-page handout (Take a Deep Breath, PDF).