Stress and frustration are a natural part of life. As adults we have figured out what methods work for stress relief, or we at least know our options! Children are still learning what emotions are, how to understand what their emotions mean, and how to control their emotions. Because of this it is imperative that we, as caregivers or parents, teach them different strategies for coping with the many emotions they are now experiencing. Telling a child to calm down makes them more frustrated and stressed because it implies that what they are feeling doesn’t matter or that we don’t care. It is important that we show them and tell them their emotions are valid and that we can help them in processing these new emotions.
One of my favorite calming techniques to teach children is, “Smell the Flowers, Blow the Candle.” Kids are not very body aware, and it can be challenging to teach them to take a big deep breath and blow it out. So, instead, we use what they know! By telling a child to use their nose to take a big deep breath (as if they are smelling flowers), and blow it out (like they are blowing out a candle), we teach them how to take deep calming breaths.
As the child calms down, we can help them figure out why they got so frustrated. We can then work with them on understanding their frustration and the next time they have such strong feelings, they have a new tool to turn to in their emotion tool-box.
Parents, too, should remember to “Smell the flowers and blow the candle,” because kids can be frustrating– and we need to take care of ourselves too!
Content provided by Women Belong member Ashley Newcomb