Helping Kids Cool Down- From Toddler to Teen

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flowers
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hat
language
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perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
desk
dress
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
pen
slippers
socks
snacks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
combs
counting
fishing
keyboard
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microphones
mouse
pack
paper
photographs
print
school
sofa
sunglasses
trader
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underwear
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baby
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flowers
food
fruit
hat
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
chair
desk
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
oil
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
combs
counting
fishing
keyboard
makeup
microphones
mouse
pack
paper
photographs
print
school
sofa
sunglasses
trader
umbrella
underwear
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
engagement
flowers
food
fruit
hat
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
desk
dress
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
oil
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
combs
counting
fishing
keyboard
makeup
microphones
mouse
pack
paper
photographs
print
school
sofa
sunglasses
trader
umbrella
underwear
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
engagement
flowers
food
fruit
hat
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
desk
dress
drug
dye
fanning
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
jewelry
knife
oil
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toys
camera
clock
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
fitness
glasses
helmet
knife
oil
ornament
harvester
pan
flowers
food
fruit
hat
keyword
language
line
perfume
translation
wine
baseball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
computer
cup
deck
dress
dye
fan
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
knife
oil
ornament
pan
pen
pet
slippers
snacks
socks
stone
toothpaste
toy
wine
camera
clock
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
ornament
oil
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
fan
Fishing
flowers
food
fruit
hat
keyboard
Keyword
makeup
drug
dye
fitness
glasses
harvester
helmet
knife
line
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
chair
cigarette
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
language
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
dress
deck
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
ornament
pack
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
language
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
slippers
snacks
socks
sofa
stone
sunglasses
toothpaste
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
yoga
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hot
mouse
music
wine
baby
hbo
ice
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
study
sports
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
basketball
beauties
counting
cup
cycling
dye
fitness
food
fruit
harvester
baseball
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
deck
dress
drug
fan
Fishing
flowers
glasses
hat
helmet
keyboard
Keyword
knife
language
line
makeup
microphones
mouse
oil
ornament
pack
pan
paper
perfume
pet
photographs
print
school
snacks
socks
sofa
sunglasses
toothpaste
slippers
stone
toy
translation
umbrella
underwear
wine
yoga
baby
bag
chinese
fat
film
gaming
hbo
hot
ice
mouse
music
novel
red
rock
science
sexy
show
sports
study
train
university
weight
wow
auto
book
care
clothes
desk
diplomacy
hospital
office
party
paypal
rock
shopping
sport
time
weddingdress
baseball
basketball
beauties
camera
chair
cigarette
clock
clothing
comb
computer
counting
cup
cycling
deck
dress
drug
dye
fan
Fishing
fitness
flowers
food
fruit
glasses
harvester

Everyone has to deal with feelings of anger and frustration at times. While these feelings are normal, it is important to teach kids how to appropriately deal with them. 

Parents and kids can work as a team to come up with strategies for these situations. “Unfortunately, many kids have never been given the opportunity to think of those other ways to calm down. They keep getting into trouble because the only behaviors they know are inappropriate ways to express their anger.” (www.parents.com) Working together to prepare a plan in advance will help children learn how to calm down and discuss why the feelings occurred. “Once the child chooses his ‘calm down’ technique, encourage him to use the same strategy each time he starts to get angry.” Here are some examples of this technique for each age group.

The Toddler Years (ages 0-2)

Prepare: Observe what calms your child. Is it snuggling up with a parent? What toys does he play with quietly?  Make note of what is calming for your child and use these activities later when the child is upset.

Act: Children of this age do not understand their feelings. When the child becomes frustrated and angry, use one calming technique you observed. Sing a song, snuggle up with a book, get out a new toy, or start a new activity. Remain calm yourself and use a soothing voice while speaking to the child.

Discuss: Think about what caused the child’s anger and discuss with other caregivers what may be common frustrations for your child.  If a toy is causing the child to become angry, simply remove it. If the child was overtired or hungry, adjust meals and bedtime. During the toddler years, tantrums are normal and may happen frequently. Try to remember this is one of the ways that toddlers are able to communicate their feelings. Be patient and know that this stage will pass as the child matures and their vocabulary develops.

The Preschool Years (ages 3-5)

Prepare: On a calm day, talk with your preschooler about different types of feelings, giving names to them. Some find a chart or photos helpful when explaining. Discuss appropriate behavior when angry and talk about actions to help them calm down. Calming suggestions for preschoolers may include drawing a picture, playing with cars, doing a simple puzzle, singing and dancing to music, running, jumping, or hugs. Sherrie Hoffman of Hiawatha, KS says “With my five year old, slow deep breaths help. Then, when he can talk, we discuss what has upset him.”

Act: When feelings of anger begin, ask them, in a calm voice, to try one of the techniques discussed earlier. Remind them you will talk about it when they are calm.  Do not feed into their actions unless they are working on becoming calm.

Discuss: Later, ask the child to share why they became angry and come up with ideas of how to prevent the situation in the future. Remind them it is normal to feel angry at times and let them know you are proud of the way they used the techniques to calm down.

The School Years (ages 6-11)

Prepare: Discuss common triggers for your child and come up with a plan of how to handle them. Talk about the difference between appropriate and inappropriate anger. Like the preschool age, come up with a technique that helps calm the child and plan to use it when needed. Ideas for this age group could include: going to their bedroom and listening to their favorite music, kicking a soccer ball, swinging on the swing set, or screaming into a pillow.

Act: When the child becomes angry, calmly let them know that you see they are upset and would like to talk about it when they are calm. “We don’t talk about a problem until they are calm and if they get worked up while explaining what is wrong then we take deep breaths until they are calm again.” says Rachael Kennedy, mother of five.

Discuss: When the child has calmed down, listen to their frustrations. Let them know it is okay to feel angry and praise them for handling it well. Ask them what could have been different and come up with solutions as a team.

The Teen Years (ages 12 and up)

Prepare: At this age the child may be aware of what sets them off and so may the parent. Try to problem solve how to avoid situations that make them angry. Come up with ways that they can calm down on their own. Ideas for this age include taking a walk, tidying up their room, listening to music, journaling, taking a shower or bath, or calling a friend to vent.

Act: Calmly mention that you see they are angry and ask them to please take a break from the situation until they can calm down. Give them space unless they want to talk and be patient. If appropriate, leave them alone in house to calm down.

Discuss: Later after everyone is ready, discuss what happened. Problem solve what a solution could be now or in the future. Come to a compromise about what could be different and ask them for as much input as possible.

The goal of these techniques is to teach kids that all feelings are normal, even anger. Teaching these techniques gives kids the tools they need to deal with anger in an appropriate way and teaches them how to use problem solving to work through a frustrating situation.

 

Sarah Lyons is a wife and mother of six children living in suburban Kansas City.

Guest Contributor

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