I sat on my couch in tears, feeling the weight of the world on my heart as I listened to my child scream, wondering if he would ever calm down. He was angry. No, beyond angry. Is there a word for that?
It wasn’t his first meltdown of the day, nor would it be his last. This time I didn’t even know what set him off.
We had already bent every parenting rule in the book for this 2 year old, but yet, the meltdowns still happened. Here we were again, him stark naked, riding his tricycle through the house, screaming about something, anything, and I had no idea how to help him calm down.
I took friends’ and random stranger’s advice;
- Timeouts? That usually ends up in a battle that feels similar to world war 3.
- Yelling? My kid can yell too and he knows it, so we both end up in tears and without a voice.
- Grounding? Same effect as timeouts.
- Spanking? I am ashamed to admit I’ve tried it. Ashamed because it goes against all my parenting instincts, but after 4 years of NOTHING working, I gave in to see if maybe, just maybe it would work. Nope. No change. The meltdowns still continued, and actually got worse.
Nothing was working and as a person who was supposed to know a lot about behavior, I found myself desperate for something that would help calm down my child’s tantrums, anger, and outbursts.
Finally I Stopped Following The Rules
If following all the parenting rules wasn’t helping, I decided there had to be a better way. So I started breaking the rules, and along the way I found some great strategies and tools I still use to this day. It didn’t all happen overnight, it happened one small change at a time.
To help you shorten your journey to finding more peace and calm in your home, I’ve compiled this list of
30 Amazing Calm Down Resources-
Ways to calm down those big feelings in the moment
First things first, when dealing with angry kids, it’s important to know how to approach them.
When the big feelings start, I naturally want to jump in and solve the problem right away, but remembering this lesson helps keep me grounded and less reactive to the explosive situation I’m trying to calm down.
The struggle to drag and keep my kids in timeouts? That ends here with a more productive alternative.
Ways to help a child calm down and stay calm can be as simple as these 5 activities.
Using imagery is always powerful, which is why these three simple steps and the idea of a balloon can work wonders to help calm a child.
If you are anything like me, my own words tend to get the best of me during heated moments of a child’s anger. These 13 phrases help remind me what to say in the moment without making things worse.
Calming a Child With Autism
For children with a specific diagnosis such as autism, the calming process might look a little different, which is when these 5 calming strategies can be really helpful.
This post is also for children with autism and includes a free printable.
Ways to help a child work through the calm down process on their own
Teaching a child about emotional regulation can be scary because the words are big and the concepts are beyond their comprehension. Posters, coloring pages, and printables like these are a great way to start important conversations and to help kids place a visual picture with an abstract feeling.
These cute printables serve as great reminders of what to do when feelings get too big.
Physical movements such as these ones here, are so fun and easy to remember. My son did these in Occupational Therapy and had such amazing success with them.
This massive list of 30 self regulating activities is a powerhouse for parents of kids any age.
Downloadable worksheets explaining deep breathing, coping skills, and feelings thermometers like this can create a more fun way to talk about hard things.
This DIY anti-anxiety kit from the Chaos and the Clutter serves as a great go-to for everyone when emotions start to increase.
Music has always been calming to me, which is why simple and beautiful songs like this stick out in my mind and can be so powerful to help kids remember what to do in a tough moment too.
Calming bedtime ideas
The OT toolbox has great strategies for calming bedtime routines to help a child get to sleep and stay asleep longer.
Weighted blankets can really help improve sleep and promote relaxation. This DIY weighted tie blanket is a great way to make that happen.
Ways to help a child calm down at school
Calm down strategies for school can be hard to come by. This post puts an eds to that by outlining the best and easiest ways to promote calmness at school.
Talking about school anxiety in this way can really help calm down those feeling before they erupt into something bigger.
Sensory bottles like this glitter sensory bottle from Pre-K pages can be very calming and regulating for kids during stressful school days.
Deep breathing is a great tool for calming, but isn’t often used. This post outlines great ways to help a child learn deep breathing and includes a free printable as well.
Creating a Montessori peace tray can be a fun activity to add to any school group for a bit of calming time as well.
Fun calming activities
When there is fun, there is learning. Kids learn best through play, so incorporating a few calming activities through the day before particularly anxious or tense times can really help a child navigate life better.
A calming bottle is a great and easy activity to make and use for the future. These one ingredient calming bottles are also a great idea for those who want something quick and effective. This post has great ideas for all the easy homemade calming bottles you could ever think of.
Legos are always a big hit at my house, so this calming lego activity is on our list to try for sure!
Dance parties, essential oil shower, and other fun and very practical activities most moms may not think of can also be calming. This list of 10 calming activities can be a great help at home.
Playdoh is a favorite at my house. Making it into a calming activity using these simple steps makes our fun activity even more beneficial.
While meltdowns and tantrums are bound to happen in my home, I know with resources like these I’m prepared to help my kid calm down much sooner. Nothing is perfect, it never will be, and that’s ok as long as I understand why it’s happening and how I can actually help without making things worse.
How do you calm down your child?