1. Calm yourself down first. You may not like me for this one because if you’re looking for a quick fix then you will probably find this an annoying suggestion, but it’s such an important one. Our kids pick up on our vibes and often mimic them as well. Have you ever noticed that if you’re having a really rough day where you’re mad and cranky, your child tends to display the same behavior? If we want to SEE calm we need to BE calm. So check your own energy first before trying to calm down a rowdy child. If you’re getting all worked up because they are, then your feeding the cycle. Remove yourself, have a sip of your water or coffee, take a few deep breaths, remember that they need you to be calm for them, and then step back in. Check out this awesome book, Breathe Mama Breathe by Shonda Morali. It's one of my faves because of the way the author introduces simple, easy mindfulness and meditation practices even the busiest mom can do.
2. Let them move. Movement needs to come before any attempt to calm a wild child. If your child is like a bull in a china shop, you can try out all the calming activities in the world, but until all that energy is out of their body it will be a losing battle. Get them up and moving, even if only for a few minutes, because getting out the energy is a key step in helping your child calm down. Play a few rounds of tag. Do some jumping jacks. Go for a walk. Jump on the bed! Find something to climb. Movement first, calming exercises next.
3. Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The opposite of our sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system is our rest and digest system. When we stimulate this system breathing slows down, our heart relaxes and beats slower and digestion begins. This is our state of calm and relaxation. So how do we switch off sympathetic and turn on parasympathetic in our child? Listen to a guided relaxation or meditation tracks (check out my free meditations here!). Do some deep breathing exercises together (check out my breathing breaks on the free resource page). Come into a physical posture such as legs up the wall or child’s pose to signal safety and tell the body it’s time to rest. Try out my all-time favorite meditation technique!