Dealing with an upset or overwhelmed kid who is struggling to control their emotions can be a difficult and frustrating experience for parents in general. In those times, they may exhibit a variety of unsettling behaviors that may be overwhelming for some adults.
However, it is crucial to remember that anger is a completely common emotion for humans to have.
We’ll look at some practical tips and strategies for how to help an angry child calm down in this blog post. These insights and resources are designed to help you support your child during times of rage and frustration and to help them develop emotional resilience.
Recognising the signs of anger in children
It is understandable that children may not always have fully developed skills or vocabulary to express their anger healthily, resulting in outbursts, tantrums, and other challenging behaviors when they are furious.
Right below, we have listed some typical symptoms of anger in children and how to recognise them, including physical, emotional, and behavioral indicators.
While these physical indicators are not always present or consistent, they are the quickest and simplest way to tell if a child is angry. The following are some physical indications that a child is angry:
- Clenched fists or muscles: like tightening their arms or clenching their jaw and other muscles.
- Increased heart rate or breathing: such as an increased pulse rate, rapid breathing, or sweating.
- Facial expressions: common alter facial expressions are scowling, furrowing their brows, or gritting their teeth.
- Aggressive behavior: such as hitting, kicking, or throwing items.
- Changes in vocal tone: like raising their voice, speaking through gritted teeth, or using harsh language.
Behavioral indicators are usually ones that are “hidden in plain sight” and not always the same regarding all children, but they are ones that can last quite long if not taken care of correctly. Below are some typical behavioral signs that a child may exhibit when upset:
- Temper tantrums: include screaming, crying, throwing items, etc.
- Verbal aggression: such as shouting, name-calling, or making threats.
- Withdrawal or isolation: means that they prefer to be alone rather than communicate with others.
- Disobedience or defiance: with some examples like refusing to follow the rules or heed directions.
- Clinging or neediness: such as wanting attention and comfort from adults.
- Passive-aggressive behavior: like sulking, giving the silent treatment, or doing things to annoy others.
It is worth mentioning that when children are angry, they may even exhibit a combination of these behaviors.
It is critical to recall that emotions are complex and can manifest differently in various children. Some kids can exhibit their anger in subtle ways, while others may show more obvious signs. Here are some examples of those hormonal signs:
- Irritability: like becoming easily irritated, frustrated, or impatient over seemingly insignificant things.
- Moodiness: this means that sudden mood swings or behavioral changes, such as moving from joyful to angry or sullen, can occur.
- Heightened sensitivity: which can cause them to become defensive or lash out.
- Increased anxiety or stress: resulting in signs such as restlessness, difficulty sleeping, or an increased pulse rate.
- Lack of empathy: leading to isolation or conflict with classmates.
How to help an angry child calm down?
The key thing for parents to do when dealing with children’s frustration is to help them manage their anger healthily by developing beneficial coping strategies. Parents can help their children to do so by understanding the triggers of anger and providing practical support from there.
Here are some of the most well-known and successful strategies:
Deep breathing exercises
As previously stated, an angry child’s breathing can become rapid and shallow, and their pulse rate can rise. Deep breathing techniques can help children slow down their breathing and relax their bodies, which can reduce feelings of anger and tension.
Encourage your child to take slow, deep breaths in through their nose and out through their mouth when practicing deep breathing exercises. You can replicate the process of letting the child inhale for a count of four, retain their breath for a few seconds, and then exhale for a count of four several times until the kid feels calmer.
Physical activities to release tension
This helps deal with the flooded adrenaline and other stress chemicals inside an angry toddler that make them feel tense and on edge. Running, jumping, or participating in other sports that they love can help the kid release pent-up energy and reduce feelings of anger and stress.
By participating in physical activities to relieve tension, the child can gain further control over their feelings and body, increasing their confidence and empowering them even more.
Redirecting attention to positive activities
When a child becomes angry, their attention may be completely focused on the source of their distress. Redirecting their attention to positive activities can assist in shifting their focus toward something more positive, which can aid in the development of future healthy coping strategies.
Playing with toys, reading a book, listening to music, or participating in a creative activity like drawing or coloring can all help calm an angry child down.
Positive self-talk and affirmations
Positive self-talk and affirmations can help encourage children to replace negative thoughts and emotions about themselves or their situation with more positive ones.
For example, they could say, “I will do better next time.” instead of “I cannot do anything right.” when they make errors.
This can also help the child acquire a more positive attitude toward life.
Setting clear boundaries
An angry child may feel out of control of the situation, but clear limits established by parents can help the child feel the opposite, allowing them to calm down.
Setting clear boundaries is to set expectations for the child’s behavior and make it clear what is and is not acceptable. For example, you can provide a “time out” area as a safe place for them to go when feeling overwhelmed.
Tips for preventing future outbursts
“Prevention is better than cure,” as the saying goes. Now that methods for calming a child’s rage have been established, it is time to advance and learn how to avoid child outbursts in the future.
Your child can become more relaxed and calm in the future by following the guidelines shown below.
Creating a calm and cheerful environment
A child can be at ease and avoid negative thinking in a calm and positive atmosphere. To achieve this, parents can try to establish a daily routine that includes playful and comforting time frames, as well as a peaceful and clutter-free home environment conducive to relaxation and calm.
It is also critical to maintaining a positive atmosphere in the house. Parents can easily create it by using positive reinforcement to encourage good conduct from a child, as well as praising them when they do something well.
Teaching children problem-solving skills and emotional regulation techniques
When a child is taught problem-solving skills and emotional regulation techniques, they can regulate their emotions better and deal with difficulties in an effective manner.
To teach problem-solving skills, you assist your child in detecting the issue, brainstorming potential solutions, and comparing the pros and cons of each of those options to select the best one later on. This is meant to help them feel empowered and have more control in difficult situations.
Teaching emotional regulation techniques can include assisting the child in identifying their emotions and then teaching them healthy ways to manage those emotions, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques.
Encouraging open communication and expression of emotions
When children feel safe expressing their emotions freely and honestly, they are less likely to bottle up unpleasant feelings and suppress them until they explode.
Encourage open communication by actively listening to the child and validating their feelings in a safe, nonjudgmental setting, even if those feelings are difficult to hear.
Furthermore, by being open and honest about their own feelings, parents can model healthy emotional expression since children are more likely to emulate adults who can express their emotions in this way.
Because every child is different, parents need to approach their angry toddlers in a patient, empathetic, and understanding manner. Using the methods and tips in this post, you can effectively help your kids manage their anger in a healthy way and develop useful emotional habits that will benefit them in the future.
However, if you require additional expert assistance with how to help an angry child calm down, or if you are looking for a healthy learning environment in which to teach your toddler more effectively, UNIS Hanoi is here to help!
Our experienced educators and therapists can provide your child with the support and guidance they need to develop healthy skills to support their anger management, such as conducting an assessment of students with social, emotional, and/or behavioral concerns or conducting individual or small group counseling.