As a parent, you work tirelessly to give your kids the best start in life. One key life skill all children need to learn to flourish is calmness and the ability to manage the stresses and strains of life. Of all the main factors that go into developing this skill in children, many experts identified one key ingredient – you!
Here’s seven tips from experts on how to teach calmness to kids:
1. Lead by Example
Most anxious children have anxious parents. Any time we’re anxious, they’re going to be anxious so the best way to raise a calm child is to be calmer yourself. If you want your child to be calmer, then you have to be calmer. When possible, make an attempt to phrase your words in the positive, rather than the negative, and guide rather than push. Making little struggles less important and implementing positive reinforcement can make both of you more relaxed.
2. Let Your Child be a Child
When children are throwing tantrums or exhibiting other destructive behaviors, it’s easy to forget that they don’t have emotional control. Even the smartest, sweetest, most peaceful, pleasant child could not possibly exit the womb with the wisdom and ability to totally control his emotions.
Treating children as little, rational adults can give them a great deal of anxiety. Instead, some experts argue that parents need to stop evaluating children’s motives from an adult perspective, viewing children’s bad behavior instead as attempts at fulfilling innocent wants.
3. Review Your Expectations
Putting too many expectations on children can give them all kinds of anxieties. Instead, parents should “not futurize” — or think too far ahead about who a child could become — in order to alleviate anxiety for both parent and child.
It’s important to remember that a temperamental child doesn’t always have tools available to remain calm. Your child has been on this earth only a few short years and it may help you to remember this during his tantrums or meltdowns.
4. Meet Your Children’s Needs
Parents, particularly anxious ones, worry about what their children may need in order to be safe and comfortable, rather than assessing actual facts. This worrywart behavior can translate into stressed-out children.
Instead of predicting what children could require, see our children as objectively as you can. Give them what they actually need, rather than looking through your lense of fear and worry. Don’t try to guess what your child will need. Instead, consider their needs as new challenges arise.
5. Use Techniques
From child yoga to meditation for kids, embrace and encourage practices that will help kids manage emotions. Do the activities with your kids, so you all learn how to be a little bit calmer.
6. Give Your Kids a Routine
A tired or hungry child is never going to be a calm child. While parents cannot control every aspect of their children’s lives, they can ensure consistent nap and snack times. Try to plan your daily schedule so it doesn’t interfere with usual nap times or meal times. If any excursion is to be more than an hour long, plan to bring along a few healthy snacks, such as pretzels and cheese or granola mix, plus something to drink. Children are more likely to be crabby if their basic needs aren’t being met.
7. Give Your Child Responsibility
Children can become stressed if they don’t continuously learn how to do things for themselves and earn more responsibility. Once a child has learned something new — be it how to set his alarm clock or to tie her shoe — parents should hand that responsibility over permanently. Helping a child learn to manage himself can make a more self-sufficient child and, in turn, calm him down.
Whenever your child is behaving badly, it’s important to remember that she won’t always be this way. In tense situations they are learning more day by day, and they rely on you for much of his information. Be patient and understanding.