When your child is upset, the last thing you want is for him to stay that way. You need to calm him down, but have run out of options – or maybe you can’t think straight in the moment. Every child gets angry. That’s a part of life. I dealt with this often as a nanny and now with my own kids. My methods for calming an angry child are a bit unconventional, but have proven successful with every child I’ve used them with.
It’s important when calming down the child, that you do not focus on the issue at hand at first. You can always talk to your child later and discipline then, if necessary. Bearing in mind that these methods are meant for the average angry child, here are five positive ways to calm an angry child. Those with special needs and diagnosed anger issues may need the advice of a specialist.
Use humor to break the silence. This may sound silly and it is. That’s the point. Just start singing a random silly or odd song. Make a joke out of the blue. With smaller children, mimicking their angry actions in a funny way can also help calm them down and even make them laugh. Anything you can do to make your child laugh is good. Laughing can help calm an angry child and release negative feelings in a more positive way.
Tell them to scream in a pillow. Yes, really. As long as your child is old enough to understand suffocation risks and knows what not to do, this can be a simple, but powerful stress reliever. They won’t disturb the neighbors and it may help relieve some built up tension. It can become the standard habit for when your child gets angry. It’s better than screaming at people. He’s not hurting anyone and he’s getting out all those pent up emotions. If it helps him get calm afterward, the goal has been accomplished.
Crank up the music. Encourage your child to sing and dance along. Music is a great tool for relieving stress and anger. It’s calming and energizing at the same time. Extra energy is good, as long as it’s positive energy. Both the act of singing and the act of dancing will be instrumental. Use them separate or use them together – whatever your child prefers. Sing and dance right along with him. Play whatever music you know your child enjoys most for the best results.
Take a walk together. You might opt for a run here as well, depending on your child’s mood. Walking or running is a good way to expel that built up negative adrenaline and turn it into something positive. Exercise is good for the body, the mind, and the soul. You can also talk to your child and figure out what’s bothering her after she has calmed down some.
Bake some cookies. Now this may seem like an odd approach. But your child can release those angry feelings by stirring and kneading the dough, cutting out cookie shapes, and decorating the cookies. Plus, he gets something yummy in return. Make the cookies together, so that your child knows you still love him even when he acts out. Later, when he is calm, perhaps while eating the cookies, you can have a talk about whatever upset him earlier.
When calming an angry child, the point is not to suppress the feelings, but rather release them in a more positive way. Harboring negative feelings can only worsen the situation later down the road. Whether you use the above methods or your own, be sure to turn the negative into the positive.
More from Lyn:
Using Songwriting to Help Kids Relieve Stress
How to Stop Kids from Throwing Public Temper Tantrums
Guide to Positive Discipline for Children