You’re through the sleepless nights of the baby stage and you’re now navigating a new set of challenges, trying to manage those big emotions during the toddler stage (people call this age terrible twos and threenagers for a reason right)?!
Well, it doesn’t have to be! As someone who has dealt with anxiety since I was a teenager, I’ve had a lot of experience using mindfulness techniques to bring myself back to the present moment. And I’ve now discovered these work well for my three-year-old daughter Mila too (modified kid-friendly versions of course).
Using movement, sound and focusing on one thing at a time, really allows us to interrupt negative thought patterns and brings us back to the present moment.
The first step is to get down on my daughter’s level and show empathy to her: “I can see you’re feeling frustrated because (reason for frustration). It’s okay to be frustrated. I’m here for you. Would you like to (insert one of techniques below)?”
- Stomp Like a Dinosaur – ask your child to stomp their feet like a dinosaur. Tell them their anger / sadness / frustration is pouring out of their feet with each stomp.
- Roar Like a Lion – ask your child to take a deep breath in and roar as loud as they can. They can also use their hands to create claws while they do this too.
- Counting Fingers (1-10) – take your child’s hands and ask them to help you count 1-10 with you. With each number, touch a different finger on their hand.
- Blow Out the Candles – this technique uses the breath by asking the child to take a deep breath in and exhale as much as they can to “blow out the candles.”
- Chant Om – you don’t have to be a yogi to feel the benefits of the word om! It is one powerful word, has been proven by science to have calming effects… and it works for kids too!
- Join in with your child! It’s bound to help you feel calmer too. Often when I join in with my daughter, she forgets what she’s worried about and it becomes a fun game between the two of us.
- Ask your child after you’ve finished the technique “do you feel a little better now?” Mila will mostly say “yes I do Mummy, thank you.” Sometimes she will say no, and we will try another technique.
- It’s important to teach our children that we all experience a range of emotions in any given day and that all emotions are okay! You can do this by saying things like “It’s okay to feel sad. Mummy feels sad sometimes too.”
- Try to catch your child just as they are starting to feel frustrated as the techniques are much more likely to work this way. Often when they get to the full-blown meltdown stage, it’s too late and they just are too worked up to be able to concentrate on any techniques. In this case, you can wait until they’ve calmed down or try again earlier next time.
Our patience can be tested during these times, so remember it’s okay to feel frustrated too and remind yourself you’re doing a great job!
Be sure to let us know if you try these and if they work for you too.
Blog written by Real Active owner Carlie for Kiddipedia Website.