The beauty of children is that they seem to be living in the moment. They really feel their feelings and go all in with the present. The downside to this can be immense emotions that your child doesn’t know how to manage. Sometimes this can look like a temper tantrum or a melt-down.
As parents, it can be challenging to cope with when you are feeling tired. Here are some things that might be happening:
1. Your child is just a toddler
Toddlers are desperately trying to be treated more like a child and less like a baby. However, they still want the love and attention they had when they were a baby. They are struggling with their own need for independence and the desire to stay close to their caregivers. They don’t yet have the vocabulary to describe their feelings. You can help them by naming their feelings and giving them some calm down strategies.
For example, “I know you are angry that you can’t have ice cream before dinner. It is ok to be angry, but that doesn’t mean that I will change my mind. Would a hug make you feel better?”
If a hug doesn’t work, try some of the other calming strategies listed later in this article. Never give in to your child’s tantrum by giving them the ice cream because then they will learn that they can have what they want when they have a temper tantrum.
2. Manage your own emotions
Children learn how to manage emotions by watching adults. If you don’t want your children to shout, you shouldn’t shout either.
3. Your child might have anxiety
Children with anxiety have a more difficult time managing their emotions because their nervous system is already taxed. Children with sensory problems or ADHD might also feel overstimulated and overwhelmed.
4. Have a calm down corner
A calm down corner can be used when your child is overstimulated. The calm down corner should have low lights, little sound, and relaxing things for your child. Some children are relaxed with drawing or their favourite toy. This can be used instead of time out. Your child is not naughty; he might need to calm down.
5. Your child might be stressed out
Is your child stressed at school? Are they overbooked? Children also experience stress. Your child must have downtime and decompression time. Play is a child’s way to de-stress and explore their world in a non-pressure way.
6. Calm down strategies
- Anger balloon: You can ask your child to make a pretend balloon with their hand, or you can give them a real balloon. They can blow their anger into the balloon.
- Jump it out: Ask your child to jump off their agitation. Sometimes getting their heart rate up helps their body to relax.
- Feelings yarn: Ask a child what colour of yarn matches their feeling, and the length of the yarn is how big the feeling is.
- Breath: Ask them to breathe in for three, hold for three and exhale for three
- Draw it out: Ask your child to draw their feelings
- Anger cards: Ask your child to draw or write what is making them angry on a card. They can pour water on it with that card, tear it up, or throw it in the rubbish.
For more ideas and strategies, visit Psychology Today.
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Although I am a registered clinical psychologist with the Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, I am not a licensed psychologist or any other type of licensed therapist in the United States. The information I am providing here is educational and informational. This social media page does not provide professional advice, nor does it create a professional-client relationship or any other type of relationship between us. You should always consult your own licensed mental health professional before making any changes regarding your mental health. My goal is to educate, guide, consult, and empower you regarding your mental health journey. Always consult your licensed mental healthcare provider(s) and never disregard or delay medical advice based on information posted on this page or post.