Do you have a child who becomes upset very easily? One small comment and they are crying and emotional. My oldest child is just like this and has been seeing the guidance counselor at school to learn different coping skills. I am going to share with some ideas that have helped us and hopefully they can help you.
1. Deep Breaths
One of the best things that have helped us is to teach our daughter how to take deep breaths to help her calm down. When we start to see her getting upset we remind her to take five deep breaths and to count. After her deep breaths, she is usually still upset so we move on to our other strategies. The deep breaths help her calm down so that we can talk to her and help her decide which strategy she wants to use.
2. Personal Space
Create a space just for your child. This will be where they go when they need a break and some time to think and cool off. We decided to use the bay window in her room and to add some pillows and blankets so that it is a nice cozy place where she can go and take time where it is quiet. To help make it personal to your child you can have them help you decorate the space and give you some ideas to add. My daughter loves looking at pictures so we added a photo album full of pictures of the whole family.
3. Encourage Creativity
This can be writing, drawing, or building with blocks. The important thing is to find something they really enjoy doing. Then add that to their personal space so they can use it to help them relax. My daughter is really into drawing pictures so she has a notebook and a pencil in her personal space.
It is important to provide options for your child. This helps them feel like they are in control of something. Even when they feel like they can’t control their emotions at that moment they know that they can control what they do when they go to their personal space. Books are a great option to provide to your child. Whether they can read or not they are calming and it helps encourage a love for reading.
5. Sensory Items
Sensory items are a great tool to use to help your child calm down. There are some great DIY calming bottles and recipes to make slime. These are not only great items to put in your child’s personal space but they could come in handy if you are out and about they are struggling to manage their emotions.
6. Give them space
When your child is in their personal space cooling off it is important to let them be. They can’t process their thoughts if you constantly go in and bother them. If you are worried about them then peak in and check on them then walk right back out. They will tell you when they are ready. My daughter will go up to her room and cool off and within ten minutes she will back down ready to talk.
7. Talk to them
After they finish cooling off take that opportunity to talk to them. Ask them how they were feeling and what made them upset. Help them process through the situation. Tell them how proud you are that they used their strategies and took the time to cool off before getting really upset.
8. Talk to their teacher
If you are concerned about the way they handle their emotions then reach out to their teacher. Find out if they are also getting easily upset at school as well. Ask the teacher if there are strategies that they can use at school to help them manage their emotions. With my daughter, the teacher reached out to me about it. She made the suggestion that my daughter sees the guidance counselor and talk about different feelings. I thought this was a great idea. She also explained to me how during class she gives her breaks when she can see the emotions building up. It made me feel better that I wasn’t the only one noticing it and that the teacher wanted to help her deal with different situations appropriately.
As a parent, it can be very stressful when your child is getting upset and you can not even talk to them. When this happens remember to breathe as well. The worst thing we can do is get upset with them and make them more confused. When they are taking a break it is okay for you to go take a break too.
Teaching our children strategies helps to make them more independent and helps them manage stress better. We can’t always be there when they are struggling but we can prepare them with the skills that they need to get through it.
Comment below with different strategies your child uses to help them manage their feelings.