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25th Mar 2017

How to keep calm with your kids when you’re just about to lose it

Alison Bough


Look, every parent loses it now and again. Fact. The reality of parenting is that sometimes it’s just really, really, hard to stay calm. 

You know those moments when you’re burning the dinner while trying to listen to reading homework, and the other one is calling you to come and wipe their bum? You can feel the frustration building and inevitably end up roaring at the whole lot of them.

Here’s a few tips to help avoid turning into The Scary Lady. And don’t worry I promise there’s no counting to three, ten or one hundred involved…

Breathe and lower your voice 

First of all, take three or four deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. This has an immediate calming effect on your mind and body. Secondly, speak in a lowered tone of voice. This will a) scare the kids more than shouting will and b) force them to calm down in order to hear what you are saying.

Drop to the floor soldier

When your child is driving you right to the edge, disarm them with an unexpected move. Sit on the floor and give them a hug. This emotional disarmament (in my experience) works every time; the positive attention means they will feel fulfilled and that you can get back to what you were actually trying to do.

If your child is refusing to do something, find out why

Children need to feel that they have some level of control in a world where lots of thing are new to them. Refusal is a form of psychological control that little people learn early. Getting into a shouting match with your child if they are point-blank refusing to do something will only raise their emotional barriers further. Very often, when kids won’t do something it’s because they are afraid they can’t do it. Ask them why they aren’t willing to carry out your request and, if necessary, help them to start the task or talk them through what they need to do. This will build their confidence in their own abilities and help them to feel emotionally safe.

If all else fails…lock yourself in the loo

Sometimes you just need to take a step back from overwhelming situations so that you can handle them better. Instead of shouting and immediately regretting it, get out of the room for a couple of minutes. Obviously, this only works with older children as it’s not safe to leave babies or young children unattended, but if you can remove yourself briefly to pull yourself together it can help to calm your mind and your shattered mama nerves.

How do YOU keep your cool when the kids are driving you nuts? Let us know your tips in the Facebook comments.