March 15, 2017 — By Wendy Sachs

Learning to control emotions is a challenge for infants and toddlers. They are just gaining experience around how to express what they are feeling.  Their outcry could be anything from a feeling of physical discomfort to needing a change in scenery or even a change in routine.  Young children are different from adults when it comes to calming down and gaining control of their emotions. It is best to have 3-4 go to tactics to help deescalate a moment of frustration when the commotion is not tied to physical distress.

Here are a few ideas that you can easily use:

  • Play music. Music is calming. Playing it softly in the background can maintain a calm environment. Changing the music can help to distract as well.
  • Blow bubbles. Bubbles are a great distraction for kids. They immediately take their mind off of the subject at hand as they gaze in amazement.
  • Count to ten. Counting to ten in a sing song voice is a longstanding tradition. This gives both the adult and child ten seconds to settle down and release any negative emotions.
  • Change the environment. Go outside – a bit of fresh air is great for the body.  Walk into another another room to change the energy.
  • Let the emotion out. If children are in a setting where they can take a moment to express their emotional frustration allow them to have that moment.  Make it an activity with boundaries such as yelling with outdoor voices indoors for a minute or jump up and down 25 times.  Not only do these actions get the energy out, it also serves as a distraction.  And follow these activities with a calmer one, once they have had time to freely let it all out.