Childhood can indeed be a challenging and stressful time for both you and your kid. Facing all problems that come with childhood can (sometimes) be difficult especially when your child can’t calm down.
When your kid is tense, and deep breathing doesn’t help, try one of these 30 techniques instead:
1.Inversion – This position of bringing back the head of your kid below the heart level has amazing calming power. Whether you two practice headstand or are just relaxing in embryo’s pose, the inversion can have restorative and beneficial effects on your autonomic nervous system that controls how your body responds to stress.
2. Visualizing a calm place – Ask your child to close their eyes and imagine a peaceful place. Then, start asking them questions about what it looks like, how it smells, and what it feels like to be there. Research has shown that this exercise is excellent for reducing stress level.
3. Singing out loud – Everyone knows the great feeling we get when we listen to our favorite music. However, the act of singing loudly your favorite songs, no matter how off tune you are, can make you feel even better. In fact, singing is proved to release endorphins – the hormones that are responsible for this good feeling you get.
4. Drinking water – Water can have a calming effect on yours and your kid’s nervous system, especially when you drink the water slowly. Dehydration is connected to a reduction in mental performance, so you should make it a habit for you and your kids to drink as much water as it is recommended for you on a daily basis.
5. Jumping rope – Another great way of alleviating stress is jumping. Play some music and start jumping with your kid for 2 minutes to the beat of the music. Or, if your kid is not able to jump rope yet, you can try to hop scotch instead.
6. Painting – Painting has been proved to resilience stress in general. Even if you are not good at it, participating in this kind of activity with your child can get yours and your kid’s mind to focus on something else than the stressful situation. Moreover, this doesn’t mean that it can only be done with acrylic paint. Anything will do the trick; even a shaving cream on a shower curtain!
7. Blowing bubbles – Blowing bubbles can improve your child’s breathing and can help them gain more control over it and calm down. Also, you could try popping some bubble wrap as it has the same effect.
8. Taking a hot bath – Sometimes there is nothing more relaxing than a hot bath at the end of a busy day. And as much as you enjoy them, your kid will also enjoy a nice hot bath now and then. Draw you kid a hot bath at the end of a day full of activities to help him/her rewind. You can put also bath toys and leave your kid to relax as long as it wants.
9. Taking a cold shower – Although this is completely opposite of taking a hot bath, cold showers can actually be helpful in reducing muscle inflammation, improving heart flow, and boosting the mood. A study on winter swimmers has even proved that exhaustion, tension, and depression can all be reduced to a minimum by taking cold showers regularly.
10. Having a cozy drink – Having a warm drink on a cold day can feel like a warm hug from the inside and will calm your kid. Give your child a glass of warm milk with a touch of vanilla and you’ll see the effects for yourself.
11. Watching fish – Have you ever noticed that there are fish tanks in medical centers and hospitals? They are there for a reason. Namely, the University of Exeter in the UK found that watching fish swimming in a fish tank reduces heart rate and blood pressure. This has the same effects on your kid, i.e. it will help them to calm down.
12. Counting backward – From any number that your kid had learned. This exercise takes your child’s mind off what’s bothering them and makes them focus their attention on something else – like backward counting.
13. Breathing into the belly – When we are stressed out it is hard to remember breathing correctly. So, you should make it sound like a game and tell your kid to think of their belly as a balloon that needs to be filled with air. Make them take deep breaths in and out. Repeat this exercise several times and see the results.
14. Shaking a glitter jar – “Calm-Down Jars” have been huge on Pinterest lately. They seem to reduce stress and anxiety and are great for turning your kid’s attention away from the situation and instead focusing on something glittery and colorful. You can make your own “calm-down jar” at home very easily. All you need is one baby food jar which you will fill it with water and sparkly glitter.
15. Running – Running is a great way for reducing stress. Even running or jogging for 10 minutes a day can improve your mood immediately and this great feeling will last until the end of the day.
16. Talking it out – Asking kids what it bothers them and why can help them learn how to verbalize their feelings while processing the situation again by themselves. The most important thing is to remain silent while your kid explains it to you and don’t try to fix the problem. Sometimes all they need is someone who understands and listens to them.
17. Decorating a wall – This doesn’t have to mean painting pictures on walls. Posters for magazines are fine too, as long as you let your kid be creative on its own.
18. Giving and getting a bear hug – A hug makes our body produce the hormone oxytocin that is essential for our immune system functioning. Also, hugging gives us a sense of happiness, reduces blood pressure, and alleviates stress.
19. Walking in nature – Stanford scientists have proved that walking in nature is a great way of reducing stress and improving cognition. Even 15 minutes walk a day is enough to meet your needs.
20. Naming emotions – Usually, when your kid gets emotional and overwhelmed it is best to ask them to name the emotion they are feeling. This identifying of emotions can be a good thing because often they are overwhelmed because they don’t know how to identify what are they feeling exactly.
21. Rocking in a rocking chair – Rocking in a rocking chair is a great stress alleviator. The repetitive moves can help in soothing and calming down your kid.
22. Rolling a tennis ball on the back – This is an old trick. By rolling a tennis ball down your kid’s back, you’ll give them a gentle and relaxing massage with a calming effect. Focus on the neck, shoulders, and lower back, as they are tense spots.
23. Crinkling tissue paper – The voice of crinkling paper can be very interesting for babies to hear. And also, the satisfaction they get from the way the paper changes in their hands sends sensory feedback to the brain that reduces stress.
24. Changing the scenery – Sometimes all a kid needs to calm down is to change the scenery. If he/she is out – take him/her inside; and the other way around. Changing the scenery can help in changing the mood too.
25. Primal yelling – Releasing negative emotions can be a good thing for your kid. Encouraging your children to yell out what they feel from time to time can make them feel good instantly.
26. Planning a fun activity – When your kid can look forward to a fun activity that you’ve planned, can make them feel happy and satisfied. Even more, if they have a say in the planning. Sometimes children must focus their attention on what’s going to happen in the future in order to change their internal dialogue and to calm down.
27. Kneading bread – Grandmothers all around the world know this and they can confirm that bread kneading is a great stress relief. So, don’t hesitate to let your kid dip their hands in the pot. In the end, however, you’ll be left with a delicious homemade bread.
28. Making a bracelet – Crafting can get you and your kid in a calm mood, as it facilitates the state of a “flow” by being completely dedicated to a certain task. This goes also for knitting, folding laundry, or any other activity where your kid can be involved.
29. Riding a bike – Riding a bicycle doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. With all these new bicycle lanes in urban areas, it is safer than before to ride a bike. Besides, this is an activity that you can do it together as a family.
30. Having a dance party – Encourage your kid to dance while listening to cheerful music. Join him/her on the “dance floor” and watch how the bad mood suddenly disappears.