Creative Child

Anger Management: Helping Kids Cool Down

by Sarah Lyons

Everyone has to deal with feelings of anger and frustration at times. While these feelings are normal, it is important to teach kids how to appropriately deal with them. Parents and kids can work as a team to come up with strategies for these situations. “Unfortunately, many kids have never been given the opportunity to think of those other ways to calm down. They keep getting into trouble because the only behaviors they know are inappropriate ways to express their anger.” (www.parents.com) Working together to prepare a plan in advance will help children learn how to calm down and discuss why the feelings occurred. “Once the child chooses his ‘calm down’ technique, encourage him to use the same strategy each time he starts to get angry.” Here are some examples of this technique for each age group.

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The Toddler Years (ages 0-2)

Prepare: Observe what calms your child. Is it snuggling up with a parent? What toys does he play with quietly? Make note of what is calming for your child and use these activities later when the child is upset.

Act: Children of this age do not understand their feelings. When the child becomes frustrated and angry, use one calming technique you observed. Sing a song, snuggle up with a book, get out a new toy, or start a new activity. Remain calm yourself and use a soothing voice while speaking to the child.

Discuss: Think about what caused the child’s anger and discuss with other caregivers what may be common frustrations for your child. If a toy is causing the child to become angry, simply remove it. If the child was overtired or hungry, adjust meals and bedtime. During the toddler years, tantrums are normal and may happen frequently. Try to remember this is one of the ways that toddlers are able to communicate their feelings. Be patient and know that this stage will pass as the child matures and their vocabulary develops.

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