How to Stay Calm When the Kids are Out of Control

As a regular collaborator with Connecting for Kids, I’ve noticed that the topic of staying calm when your child’s emotions are running hot is one of the most popular Coffee and Chat support topics. Even if we weren’t still wedged into a world where pandemic stress is the norm, finding that place of calm that allows us to respond to children rather than react doesn’t necessarily come easily — but it can.

We know that you can’t teach someone a coping skill in the middle of a crisis. The same is true about flipping a switch to calm when your kids are in chaos. To be able to access our “calm” in times like these, we need to practice it during the times when things aren’t so chaotic.

At the most recent Connecting for Kids Coffee and Chat, the families who attended had lots of great ideas:

  • Take a “time out” (one family even mentioned using a smart speaker device to play music for a specific period to time to give everyone a cue that this was supposed to be a quite time.
  • Practice a favorite craft like knitting, crochet, or scrapbooking
  • Write a journal entry
  • Set aside a few minutes to color in an adult coloring book
  • Use guided meditation (one family suggested Headspace on Netflix)
  • Listen to soothing music (a family suggested music by Stephen Halpern)

An article we like to use with this program, titled “Remaining Calm in the Face of Chaos,” also suggests going for a walk or taking belly breaths. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to help find your calm — only that you recognize how your body feels when you get there. When you find the place where you feel completely relaxed, take a few moments to observe it. Make a mental note of your berating, your heart rate and what you experience through the five senses.

The next time things are running hot in your family, look for that feeling you had when you felt calm. It may be hard to do at first, but the more you practice reaching a place of mindful calm, the more readily you’ll be able to come back to it.