As moms we have all been there: the grocery store, the living room, the middle of somewhere we can’t escape, and it happens…your kid is freaking out (fingers crossed it’s only one kid at a time). You may know exactly what triggered it (such as saying no to the sugar cereal) or have no clue what set your kiddo off.
Regardless of why your kid is upset, you probably have the urge to try to contain the situation. Sometimes I have the urge to run away. Kidding…sort of. It doesn’t really matter why or where your child has decided to melt down, one thing is for sure: they probably need your help to calm down and get through the situation.
The challenge as moms is often that when our kids are freaking out, it pushes our buttons and we’re no longer in a calm state. However, if we can help our kids understand what to do when they’re feeling upset, are stressed out or just need to calm down, we’re teaching them a critical life skill. (If you need help with calming yourself down, check out How to be a Calmer Mama with the free Calmer Mama Checklist).
One of the bet strategies to help a child regulate emotions is using something they do all day, every day. Through their breathing. Though this is an automatic function, when we focus on it, and breathe in a specific and deliberate way, we can slow down our body and our mind.
Try these 3 steps to help your kids calm down:
- Ask your kiddo to imagine there is a balloon in their belly that they need to fill up with air.
- Tell them they inflate (blow up) the balloon by breathing in slowly through their nose. Do this with them and have them put their hands on their belly to make sure their balloon is blowing up.
- Once their balloon is full, let them know it’s time to let all of the air out of the balloon- blow the air out slowly through their mouths until there’s no more air in their balloon.
And, repeat. Again, and again if needed. Tell your child that these are balloon breaths and that you’ll practice them together. This is a skill that will work with all ages (you may not need the balloon analogy if your kids are older). Get the free printable if you’d like to have a visual reminder for your kids. Get the printable here.