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Tips for Helping An Angry Child

Everyone knows that feeling of anger. Whether it is extreme and long lasting or brief and mild, anger is an emotion that all people experience from time to time. People can successfully manage their anger by being aware of what triggers their emotions and using tools to help themselves calm down. Blog-Angry-Child-Main-Landscape

While children are smart, creative, funny, and strong they sometimes have a harder time than adults in calming themselves down and managing their anger. By helping them to recognize and understand this emotion, you can help them feel prepared and confident to navigate their environment successfully. The following are some tips for helping an angry child.

  1. Teach your child about the emotion “anger” along with other key emotions such as happiness, sadness, and fear—the movie “Inside Out” is a wonderful film that helps to explain these emotions (and others!) in a friendly and meaningful manner.
  2. Let your child know that they are allowed to feel all of these feelings and that it is normal for all people from time to time to feel anger—this helps them reduce any guilt or upset they have about their feeling of anger.
  3. Acknowledge your child’s angry feeling, ex. “I see that you are feeling angry,” and other feelings as well so that they can learn to differentiate the myriad of feelings they’re experiencing. It’s definitely confusing to do that at times, so with your help they will begin to do this on their own.
  4. After acknowledging their feelings of anger, encourage them to find something positive about the situation they’re in. Ex.) they are feeling angry about missing a day at the pool due to the rain, help them to see that they still get to play with their friend, have a treat, etc.
  5. Remind your child that they can and will feel better again—and even sooner if they try the above strategy!

These tips will certainly help any child that is feeling angry and they have the added benefit of improving your connection and relationship as well as there will be no shame or disappointment expressed to the child. If it feels like your child is having angry moments on a more than regular basis, extra support may be needed to help explore other feelings and situations that may be bothering your child. Working with a trained pediatric social worker can help explore these areas. Contact North Shore Pediatric Therapy today.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

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sensory strategies angry child

Sensory Strategies to Calm the Angry Child

When children are upset, adults are usually able to tell by their behaviors. Some children scream, others cry, throw things or hit someone or something nearby. Below are some therapeutic solutions that can help to calm an angry child safely and effectively.

Sensory Solutions to Help Your Angry Child Calm Down:

  • Provide your child a safe, therapeutic way to release any excessive energy they haveSensory Strategies to Calm the Angry Child from becoming angry. For some children, this may look like hitting their pillow, running, jumping rope, or playing on the swing set. Other children prefer crawling into a safe, but compact space (such as in between a mountain of pillows) or inside of a self-made fort full of cushions, pillows, stuffed animals, and small fidgets. Providing proprioceptive activities, including back rubs, massages, or bear hugs can be helpful tools to use when trying to manage emotional regulation.
  • Teach your child self-calming breathing strategies. When your child is visibly upset or angry, instruct them to breathe in like they are smelling flowers for 5 seconds, and exhale like they are blowing out birthday candles for 5 seconds, for up to one minute at a time. This helps to trigger the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for calming the body down and reducing stress  (click here for 5 yoga activities to help your child calm down).
  • Be proactive. Use a visual chart to help children remember safe ways to manage their anger. Using language such as, “When I feel upset or angry, I can…” combined with visuals of previously learned strategies (deep breathing, back rubs, fidgets, bear hugs, etc.) can help your child learn how to independently manage anger appropriately.
  • When your child is angry, it is important to avoid immediate punishment. Identify a safe, quiet place for the child to go to so that they can implement self-calming strategies to help better their mood. For younger children, set a visual timer for 5-10 minutes. Let the child know they have until the time runs out to calm their body down, and give them a choice of 2 strategies to help them feel better. For older children, encourage them to set a visual timer to decide on the length of the time-out before they are expected to return to the activity.

Is it Bad Behavior or SPD?

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!