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Self-soothing is a vital skill for your child to use. Particularly if your child has an angry outburst. Here are 7 effective ways you can teach your child, to help them calm down.

1. Three deep breaths

Take three long, slow, deep breaths before reacting. A big breath in, and the longest, slowest breath out they can manage. Interestingly taking long slow breaths has been shown to override the fight or flight response and help calm their body down physiologically. If your child wants to do this in a yoga pose, cross legged on the floor, that will help too!

2. Calm button

Help your child to set a ‘calm button’ to help them feel calmer when they feel angry or upset.

  • Your child needs to be into a completely calm state. Perhaps when they’re just about to go to sleep or relaxing on the sofa.
  • When they are feeling as calm as possible, they should set a ‘calm button’ by gently squeezing their left palm by putting their thumb on their palm, and the other fingers squeezing the back of their hand. Really tune in to how calm they are.
  • They should do this up to 15 times.
  • Then when they feel angry or upset, they can squeeze their calm button, and instantly feel calmer.

3. Use a Mantra

Children can be taught to say a mantra quietly to themselves such as ‘I’m strong, I’m brave and I’ll handle this.’ Or I’m calm, I’m relaxed and I’m safe.’

4. Distract themselves

Your child can distract themselves by reading, playing, or listening to the words of a relevant song.

Dancing vigorously to some high-energy music may also help to get rid of some or their angry energy. Such as ‘The angry dance’ from the musical Billy Elliott

5. Talking it through

Some children find it really useful to rant for 10 minutes about a situation they have found difficult. Your role, as a parent, is to listen and empathise, being sure not to criticise, comment or give any advice. This will allow your child to work through the emotion and start thinking of solutions themselves.

6. Re-framing

Often children are upset because they feel someone has deliberately treated them badly, or they feel they have been unfairly victimised. It can be very useful to empathise with their feelings, and then help them think of a more helpful, accurate or realistic way of what is really going on. This is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT.

7. A calm box

It can be helpful for a child to have a calm box to use when they’re angry. This could have comics, drawing things, something soft to hold, and even a lavender spray to help them feel calmer.


If your child needs help managing their anger, and you’d like to find out more about doing some sessions to become their anger management coach contact me today, and I’ll show you many more ways to help your child stay calm and in control.

The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

Need help now? Ready to explore whether investing in some tailor-made parenting sessions would be right for you and your family? Book your FREE 20-minute call with Elizabeth here