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Tiny Hearts, Giant Emotions – 6 Ways to Help your Kids Handle Anger

Emotions toddlers kids tantrums sarasota

I’m emotional, so it’s ironic that I’m writing this piece today.

My husband has been away for one week and I’m busy managing two kids, two dogs, a turtle, a fish, a job and my sanity, which has led to an overwhelmed, frustrated, exhausted mom.

Fortunately, for the most part, I have learned to manage my emotions, but what do we do when our little ones break down? What happens when they become so overwhelmed with feelings that they just start wailing? I can’t live in the only house that this happens, right? I’m not talking about them fighting with their little sister because, believe me, that happens at my home every day. Rather, I’m referring to the emotional temper tantrum that makes us want to crawl into a hole and never show our beet red, steaming faces again.  

HALT or H.A.L.T.

In my house, we ask our kids to H.A.L.T. When emotions are in overdrive, first, I want to know if my kids are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. If they can identify one of these four core issues, the problem might easily be solved with a snack or a nap. Yet, we have those times, usually for us, right before heading to church or in the middle of the Publix checkout line, (when I’m saying no for the 100th time to a surprise flavor push pop), that H.A.L.T. will not cut it.

So, friends, in an effort that we are certainly not alone, here are the top 6 ways that our house conquers anger:

6 Ways to Conquer Anger

BOWLING! Seriously? Yes, BOWL

Go, bowling…You read that right, BOWL. Head into the garage, line up some cans, grab a beach ball and bowl.

Watch Their Emotions go up in Flames

Write a letter. Some kids might say, “Mom’s lame,” but seriously, have them write a letter. When they’re all done, burn it; go ahead, light it on fire (IN THE SINK PLEASE, AND HELP THEM DO THIS). They can literally watch their emotions go up in flames. Trust me when I tell you, the fire completely dissolves some anger.

Pillows Come in Handy

Dare we say PILLOW FIGHT? That’s right, many fights have been dispelled in my home with the simple use of a soft pillow and good aim.

Allow your children to punch pillows. This has been one of the most effective ways to dissolve anger, through physical exertion. If that doesn’t work, ride a bike, kickbox or take a walk.

Down to the Ground, You Go

If you’re out in public and a full fledge, toddler on the ground, flailing arms and legs tantrum is underway, get on the ground with them. Yes, I’m completely serious. Heading to their level not only brings them comfort, but it also says, “Mom means business.” And while you’re down on the ground, hug them. Yes, I know it is the last thing we want to do.

We want to punish, take away toys, iPad time, snacks, ice cream whatever we can think of, but their tiny hearts are trying so hard to process some big emotions and even 20 seconds of human contact through hugging can increase endorphins.

It’s Music to My Ears

Play music. Sounds simple, right? But here’s the deal… Playing music deflects the attention on their current situation and if the emotion can be deflected for even 10 seconds, chances are their minds will focus on something else. Maybe even a chance to grab a cute dance video.

Five, Ten, However Long it Takes

Take FIVE! Maybe it’s time for a time out…for the both of you. There have been plenty of times where not only does my child need a timeout, but me too! So take it! Try not to feel guilty. I’m guessing when you both come back together, the emotions will subside and you can begin to talk things out.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going bowling! 

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