Young children inherently lack the knowledge and ability to recognise and deal with strong unpleasant emotions. So they often express it physically in the form of tantrums or hyperactive behavior. At such times, it turns out to be a challenging task for a parent to soothe the child down and give him/her space to process the emotional agony and gradually let it go.
There is no blanket strategy that works for all kids alike and a child might have different responses to a given technique from a given moment to another. So we’ve listed below some tried and tested strategies that you could try out the next time you see your little one/s get edgy or cranky.
Deep breathing – Fast, shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, and tense muscles are some of the physical symptoms of anxiety in children and adults too. At such times, slow/deep breathing signals the body to calm down and along with the body, the mind tends to calm down too.
Read a book – Nothing can work magic on an anxious mind like a soothing story does. The very process of listening to a story requires you to slow down physically and calm down your mind. And since kids are particularly fond of visuals, you can read slowly your child’s favourite illustrated storybook to calm those uptight nerves.
Head out for a walk – Research has proved that exposure to nature and green spaces has a positive cognitive effect on school children. Going for a walk in nature allows your child to reconnect with the physical world around him while drawing his attention away from unpleasant emotions.
Understand the origin of worry – Understand the cause of your child’s anxiety and try to explain that you are there to hold her/his hand and support her/him no matter what. Help your child understand that worry and anxiety are common feelings that leave you if you don’t pay much attention to them.
Listen to music – It is impossible for your child to feel anxious when she is tuned into her favourite music or dancing to her favorite song. So crank up the music and sway on!