CALM DOWN!

Calm down:

First, make sure both you and your child are safe. Then, sit down and relax. Breathe. Don’t do anything. The thoughts below won’t work for every child. As with anything else, it’s an experiment. As you deeply understand your child and your environment, be willing to courageously experiment with the ideas that feel supportive to both you and your child.

Emotional co-regulation:

When you are able to regulate your own emotions your child will follow your example.

Recently, I broke a vase. My husband had no particular reaction to it and started to immediately help me clean up. When I saw how comfortable and relaxed he was with the breaking of the vase, I immediately let go of my stress and joined him in the clean-up process. Your child will most likely react the same way as you show them all is OK!

Minimize talking:

Going back to my example above - my husband didn't say a word. He just started cleaning. This is a great example of actions speaking louder than words. Often when we talk a lot, especially in a situation when a child is upset, we add to the noise and stress they are already experiencing. You could say a few words that are very reassuring. "I am here. Everything will be alright. I love you and am here to help you."

Create space/distance:

Often crying or tantrumming is a great way to let out a lot of energy. A child might not be able to explain that she has a lot of stress in her body, but crying intensely is a great way to blow off some steam. Experiment with letting them cry and not intervening in the process unless they are not safe. During their crying, step aside and take slow deep breaths while sending words of love and acceptance to your child. Praise/reward your child.

During the tantrum or emotional outburst, watch for moments of greater emotional regulation (ex. less crying, using words with regular voice, calm body gestures).
Recognize those moments by providing kind/warm words like "Now I get what you are saying” or “I can now help you because I understand what you are saying etc." You could even offer them something they like or want.

Have fun by your self:

The purpose is not distracting your child from the tantrum but could be a tool to help them transition out of the tantrum. As a transition tool, this is helpful at the tail end of the emotional outburst so pick your time wisely. When you do decide to do this, don’t pay attention to your child's crying. Experiment with taking a toy your child may like and play with it in a fun way. Be silly with it. If your child takes it away then get something else. Just focus on the toy/game. If your child does come over and decides to look and then play, be very casual about it. Let them in and if they stay with the game a bit, let them know how happy you are they joined.

Here are some other ideas to try:

•     Soothing music
•     Could your child be responding to anything in the environment? Listen to your intuition and experiment with adjusting the physical space.
•     Spray in the air or give the child a vanilla or lavender scent. If he doesn’t allow it on skin, put it on yourself or use a diffuser.
•     Squeezes and deep pressure are a good way to calm a stressed sensory system. Start with the feet. Warm a little of a favorite oil and put it on your child feet applying firm, smooth, even and predictable pressure.
•     Wrap your child in a warm blanket.
•     Combine a warm bath with soothing music and calming essential oils