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What should my child do when given time to calm down?

Question:

What should my child do when I give her time to calm down? What if I send my child to her room, and she stays in there all night?

Answer:

​Your child should do whatever helps them to calm down. Maybe it is listening to music, taking deep breaths, counting to 100, writing in a journal or going for a walk.

If you haven't already done so, develop a "staying calm" plan with your daughter. The plan should have three parts: First, help your daughter recognize the signs that indicate she's starting to get angry (physical, emotional changes). Second, have your daughter identify the types of people and situations that tend to anger her. Finally, identify healthy ways she can release her anger. You may find our managing your anger and coping skills tools helpful when creating your “staying calm” plan.

Just by creating the plan, you will help your daughter become more aware of her emotions and the choices she has for staying calm. If she stays in her room all night, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Check on her regularly to make sure she's okay. If she's tired or frustrated and isn't ready to listen, let her sleep on it. It's okay to wait and work things out in the morning. It may take a few moments or it may take a few days for your child to calm down; it all depends on the circumstances surrounding the event and how well she can deal with her anger.

When your child is calm, she will be able to follow any simple instruction that you give. For example, you might say, "Let's go to the kitchen and talk" or "Why don't you sit here in this chair." If she can follow your instructions, then she should be calm enough for you to address the problem and do some follow-up teaching. If she won't follow your instructions, give her more time to cool off.