calming ideas for intense kids

July 15, 2015

calming ideas for intense kids / kapachino

I think I’ve mentioned about a hundred times that Meredith is a spirited child. :) As so, she is particularly intense with her emotions, which can be so cool and fun but also…not! Today I wanted to share a few ideas that we use to calm her down when she is getting worked up. (First tip: try them BEFORE reaching epic meltdown level!)

1. Walk it out

Changing her surroundings is always a good idea, and going for a walk usually does the trick. When I’m trying to head off a tantrum I try to steer her towards riding in the stroller or walking rather than riding her balance bike because she can get frustrated easily with the latter. If there isn’t time to go for an actual walk I might just take her outside instead.

2. Water

As long as it’s not washing her hair (which is torture, obviously) anything involving water is soothing. She particularly likes “washing” the dishes, but playing in the kiddie pool or the bath is good too.

3. Touch

If I can get her calm enough to sit in my lap, she loves it when I run my fingers lightly over her skin. She might get tickled at first, but she’ll get used to it and ask me to keep going. I do her arms, legs, back, and neck.

4. Just start talking

This is a distraction technique. When I’m desperate I will start talking about something – anything – random, and just keep going, and going, and going. Eventually she might become absorbed in my babble and then we can come back to the problem at hand a little more rationally.

5. Playing baby

I use this one especially when she is refusing to do something I want/need her to do. She is 4 years old, so I will start acting like she is a baby. Maybe I need her to change clothes – I’ll lay her on the changing pad, pretend to change her diaper, and put her clothes on there. Sometimes I’ll even swaddle her! It’s silly, but it can really work.

Anyone else out there want to chime in with your ideas? Where are my parents of spirited children? Let’s have a moment of solidarity!

Posted in: motherhood, tips


Comments on calming ideas for intense kids

  1. 1

    From Melissa:

    Such a good momma! :) I’m glad you’ve found some useful tactics!!! ALSO, I love the simple and consistent way you’re adding text to your photos lately. Looks great!

  2. 2

    From Kara:

    I sometimes wonder if Isla falls into the “spirited” or “intense” category. She can be full of wonderful things until well, she’s not. Then everything is awful and the world is the worst in her eyes. I’m definitely going to have to remember some of these tactics. We use the distraction one quite frequently but really need to go outdoors more. Fresh air slays the beast 99% of the time!

  3. 3

    From Nora:

    Pretty sure my youngest is a spirited child; this summer we’ve been getting a bit more of the sweet and cuddly intense feelings which we are NOT used to because usually everything is a fit, meltdown, etc. When she does start to get frustrated or close to melt down mode, we are skilled at changing the topic, misdirection (aka SQUIRREL!), or listening to calming music. I love the idea of walks + water. Our new thing that we are doing, since she’s six, is working with her to “certify” on things that she wants to do by herself but can’t quite do alone- washing her hair, etc. She loves the confidence boost and learning so it seems to help a bit. I will say when little one is difficult she IS DIFFICULT and it has moved me to tears before.

  4. 4

    From Brittany:

    I love these tips. As of right now my daughter (11 months old) doesn’t seem TOO intense, but I know I was/am an intense person (these tips are actually useful for me!).

  5. 5

    From sarah Von Bargen:

    Oh, goodness. My partner has two sweet boys, one of whom is quiiiiite intense. So helpful!

  6. 6

    From Sarah K:

    These are great ideas. I would add “silliness” – at least for my intense little guy, it helps lighten the mood a lot if I can get him laughing with a silly song or joke.

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