Settling the Upset Child


Although hopefully infrequent and occasional, your babes will get upset.

Here are some tips to calm those cries.

  • First check to see if your child hungry? Thirsty? Getting sick? Teething? Overtired? If so, attend to those needs
    • If hungry, offer a healthy protein-packed snack with some whole grains
    • If thirsty, offer cool water, warm milk or electrolyte-packed coconut water
    • If you suspect that your child is at the beginning of an illness, pump up their immune system
    • If your baby is teething, offer a chillled washcloth or cold teething rings
    • If overtired, have your child nap if your schedule permits, otherwise provide them with a darkened quiet room to rest or simply put them to bed a little early
  • Is your child venting her frustration in order to get your attention? Because they have perhaps been a little neglected, abandoned or ignored?
    • If so, give your child, some deep one-on-one attention, with eye-contact and a comforting touch, a warm lap to sit in
      • This is often very hard to do when you have more than one child under your care but if possible try to ensconce the other child in a self-directed activity and then turn your attention to the needy child, even just five minutes can do wonders
      • Read a book together or sit together to draw or color
  • Has your child been recently antagonized by someone? Perhaps a sibling or friend?
    • If your child has been either physically or emotionally antagonized by a friend or sibling, help her to separate from that person and find a private space to decompress from the altercation
    • Allow your child to vocalize her feelings and vent her frustration or anger
      • If your child is older, work with her to understand why the altercation occurred and what the next steps should be to come to a positive resolution
      • If you have a younger child, acknowledge and validate her emotions and turn her attention to something else
  • Is your child over-stimulated?
    • Remove the stimulation and redirect her energy into a more soothing activity
      • Perhaps some sensory play or a warm bath, some yoga or a session of mindful breathing
  • Is her upset a symptom of some (unknown) developmental hurdle?
    • If so, try to figure out the developmental milestone which is causing her disorganized behavior and offer her the chance to exercise it out
      • If your child is on the verge of walking, give her as many opportunities as possible to cruise and practice
      • If your child is desperately trying to make friends at school, role-play situations with her, read books together about how to tackle social situations, talk to her about your own experiences
  • Still can’t figure out why your kid is upset?
    • Sometimes, tantrums or meltdowns are inexplicable or a confluence of factors and in these instances sometimes you and your child will have to ride it out
    • And moreover, a tactic which works one day may fail the next and so try to be flexible and understanding, as they say, this too shall pass

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