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What is a teachable moment? It's learning through family. That's what Boys Town provides to tens of thousands of children and parents everyday. And that's what we'll focus on here. Stories of those who we've seen succeed, and ideas on how to help bring Teachable Moments to your home and family, too.

4 Steps to Help Keep Kids Calm
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by Erin Dittman, Supervisor, Boys Town In-Home Family Services

tags: Meltdown, Parenting Skills

4 Steps to Help Keep Kids Calm

This post was originally published on Momaha.com on July 23rd, 2015.

Everyone gets upset sometimes, kids are no different. Staying calm is an essential skill for success at home, at school and throughout life in general. As parents, we can help our kids learn to stay calm in difficult situations.

Follow these four steps to help your child learn to control their outbursts.

1. Keep your own emotions in check. One of the most important things parents can do to help their children learn to stay calm is to keep their own emotions under control. Modeling self-control is a great way to set the example for kids. Keeping calm is important in all situations – especially when correcting your kids. As long as everyone is safe, it’s okay for you to take a quick break to regain your composure. The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be. When everyone is able to stay calm, emotional situations are less likely to get out of control.

2. Talk about staying calm at a neutral time. Explore situations your child finds upsetting and come up with a few strategies for calming down. Breathing, counting, coloring, journaling and taking some space might be helpful for your child. Be sure to pick two or three things, just in case one isn’t appropriate for the situation. Write the plan down and post it as a reminder. Then practice those strategies regularly so when your child is getting upset, you can prompt and encourage them to use their new skill.

3. Give your kids space to practice calming strategies. Even after making a plan and practicing, there will still be times when they become upset. In the moment, encourage kids to use their strategies and allow them some time and space to do so. Ignore any comments that feel like personal attacks or arguments. Try to avoid talking about the trigger issue until your child has regained their composure.

4. Finally, be sure to recognize progress . Maybe melt-downs are happening less often or don’t last as long. If you see your child trying to stay calm, praise them and encourage them to keep trying. Remind them that if they are able to stay calm, they are less likely to get into bigger trouble and get back to the fun stuff sooner.

Helping our kids grow into self-disciplined adults is a parent’s number one job. Being able to stay calm is more important in the long run than the chore that isn’t done, lost homework or whatever issue started the whole thing! There is plenty of time to go back and address the initial problem.

Keep at it; developing self-control in our kids is essential to their success in life and is worth the effort!