While parenting and working with children is a rewarding experience, it can definitely be challenging when children start acting out and becoming rambunctious. At times, you may feel tempted to just throw your hands in the air as you give up trying to keep the kids under control. Both parents and teachers can benefit from techniques that calm children and allow for a more appropriate behavior. We know “kids will be kids”, but creating expectations and a structured environment will assist in your child’s development. And just as important, it will make your days exceptionally easier.
Structure is Key
Teachers know this well: structure is key to calming rowdy children. This is why schools have a fairly strict schedule. Learning, playing, napping, and eating all occur at specific times. Not only that but most schools have a disciplinary system in place, clear rules established and outlined for the students to follow. While home is more relaxed, it there still needs to be some form of structure in place for children to fit into. Structure is known to help children feel safe and secure. While a lack of structure can lead to irritability and thus acting out. It will also decrease stress for adults.
Some great ways to incorporate structure into your home routine is by setting aside specific days or times for activities. Another great option is having a visual disciplinary system at home, just as a child does at school.
Scheduling or planning activities that engage your child’s mind and appropriate for their specific developmental stage will be fun for everyone! Some great ideas area making slime with household items such as glue, contact solution, laundry soap, and shaving cream. Sprinkle in some glitter, essential oils, and tiny toys and your kids will be occupied for ages!
Consider looking for developmental crafts related to your child’s specific age range. Or even coloring together, making “music” toy instruments or make your own such as a kazoo or rainstick with a paper towel roll.
Mindfulness for Children
Mindfulness is not just for adults! It is a great way to teach children to understand and respond to their emotions effectively. While your child may not want to stay in downward dog for long, there are ways to keep them engaged in mindfulness.There are many mindfulness techniques, including kid-friendly guided meditations.
A great way to make these exercises more beneficial and fun is by using essential oils known to assist in relaxation, such as copaiba oil or lavender. Also, setting up a diffuser is a great option to include essential oils throughout your child’s day.
Exercise and Diet
What better way to to dispose of excess energy than burn it off? Pop in a children’s dancing game such as Just Dance’s Disney editions and let the children have fun. Or even encourage a game a simple game of tag or just go for a walk Planning these exercises before events where the children are expected to be calm is a good idea to prevent any outbursts.
Along with exercise, it is important that your child is eating a proper diet. A proper diet for children will depend on their age and any medical conditions they may have. However, there are kid-friendly foods that are known to ease anxiety and relax children. Some examples are chamomile tea, yogurt, and flax seeds.
If structure is the stepping stone to keeping children calm, prevention is the foundation on which that stone lays. There are going to be times when you can’t do any of the above -- you’re at the grocery store or shopping for new school clothes. One option is keeping a glitter bottle with you or perhaps slime with those essential oils in it and give the child these items to “play” with and allow them to relax and focus on something less disruptive. Other immediate solutions include removing the child from the situation, offering emotional support, and asking them to play a “breathing” game that focuses on guided breaths. Consider offering these solutions before any rowdy behaviors begin and see the results!
While all of these techniques are helpful for keeping both you and your child calm, it is important to remember that children need to express themselves. Sometimes this expression is an overwhelming outburst or rowdy behavior, and that’s okay. Take it one step at a time and find out which methods work best for each child.