As parents we often have to calm a child who is either angry, distraught, crying or screaming. Here are some tips on how to calm a child down.
Get down to the child's level (Step 1)
If your child is short, either kneel down or sit down next to them so you can make direct eye contact in a friendly way.
Use physical contact to soothe the child (Step 2)
Put a hand on your child's shoulder and use the other to stroke their face gently or their chest or their arms in a manner that calms and comforts them.
Talk in a soothing tone (Step 3)
Use a soothing tone and soothing words and and ask your child to calm down. You can say "I can't understand what you are saying when you are crying" or "I can understand you better if you speak slowly at a lower volume".
Find a quiet place to talk (Step 4)
If possible, ask your child to go sit down with you in a quiet nook or corner. This can help them understand that you are paying attention to them. And don't forget to thank your child for stopping their crying or screaming.
Listen attentively (Step 5)
Screaming or crying are ways for a child to get your attention. Once they stop screaming or crying, give your child what they really wanted. Put away your phone or book or paper and give your complete attention to the child.
Practice Active Listening (Step 6)
Active listening is a technique to show the person talking that you have listened carefully to them. Very simply, you rephrase what you heard and repeat it to the child. So if your child says "I wanted to read the book but he grabbed it", you can say "Were you trying to read that book?".
Discuss solutions to the problem (Step 7)
By now your child would have calmed down and is ready to figure out the solution to their problem. Start discussion how to resolve the problem. Here are some ideas on what to do.
- Ask your child how to solve the problem
- Ask your child if any solution they propose is fair to all concerned
- Ask if they have addressed their complaint to the other party (the other child for example)
There are two things to remember when following the 7 steps on how to calm a child down.
- Don't spank or hit your child. It only makes the situation worse. It does not help a child calm down.
- Keep your patience. Read this article on how to keep your patience with children