Grandparents Teach, too: How to help sad or angry children relax

When children are angry or out of sorts we need many techniques to calm them down before we can talk together. No matter what it is, the situation begs for calmness. Child psychologist, Angela Pruess’ parentswithconfidence.com is a wonderful site to help. It may depend on whether there is great anger or sadness which techniques you choose before you talk calmly together. Here are more samples of her suggestions for different ages:

≤ Massage the hands. With a little baby oil use your thumb to massage each finger gently from the base to the tip. Massage the web between the thumb and pointer with your thumb from tip to palms up and the top of the hand upward.

≤ Rubbing children’s feet is also relaxing while you talk soothingly. Start by gently holding a foot. Then lightly press and circle your thumbs just above the center of the foot bottom where it bends ( the solar plexus reflex). Gently stroke from under the big toe. Then move on to the other toes. More can be found on You Tube when you search for reflexology or baby massage.

≤ Give a gentle circular back rub while a child is on your lap and sing a favorite soft song together, pray, or read a favorite book.

≤ Young children can learn to give themselves a hug, close their eyes and picture nature or their favorite spot. They can go to their favorite spot and hug a stuffed animal, you, the dog, an pillow until they are ready to talk.

≤ Read, color, or look at book while lying on the stomach.

≤ Create something with clay. Children may need to slam it down down the table and pound or knead it for a while.

≤ Encourage preschoolers and older children to press their palms together and then release and relax several times.

≤ Squeeze a balled up wet wash cloth, squishy toy, or favorite stuffed animal. Release and relax.

≤ Go for a walk. Throw some snowballs, snow chunks at tree trunks. Throw stone in the water.

≤ For young children you can make a pillow path and they can crawl on it.

≤ Do wall pushups together or lean against a counter at an angle and gently push away and back down.

≤ Walk or run around the inside or outside of the house. Go for a bike ride. Throw a ball over the garage roof. Someone catch it on the other side and throw it back. Throw a ball against a wall and catch it.

≤ Older children can recite the alphabet backwards, count backwards from 100, or count backwards by 2 or 3. Make it a bit challenging, but not too challenging that they will give up.

For more information see grandparentsteach@gmail.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons; on You Tube, or Pinterest .

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.


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