These ten ways to calm an angry child are strategies that kids can use to deal with their anger in healthy ways. Many of these solutions give children a physical outlet for some of the feelings that are bottling up inside them.
Children can experience anger for a variety of reasons. If you want to consider more deeply why your child might be angry, please visit this post for more thoughts as well as solutions.
Anger in Children
When considering why your child might be angry, the first thing to analyze is your home. Ask yourself these question:
- Are your kids in a healthy environment, or is there a lot of stress they are experiencing because of things going on within your family or at their school?
- How can you help fix the turmoil that might be going on around them?
- What are you modeling? Do you handle things in anger? Try and work on that too.
Something to note is that a child’s environment will never be perfect. If they are in harms way, that needs to be fixed. Having a safe environment is extremely important for your kids’ well being.
If your marriage is a mess, make it a priority to invest in the health of your marriage. Get outside help when needed.
However, we cannot solve everything. We need to refrain from unreasonably trying to control their environment. Often, things won’t be perfect in life.
The question then is: How do we help them deal with the stresses around them in a healthy way?
For example, maybe a child has a hard coach. This coach isn’t abusive or harmful, but they might have a more challenging personality or be tough in their approach. We shouldn’t try and remove the coach or quit the sport, but we teach them how to successfully work within their situation.
This might involve submitting to the coach, or it might involve communication with the coach. Teaching them to have these hard discussions is important, and the degree they communicate depends on age.
Life will bring hard teachers, coaches, bosses, friends and people in general. Part of raising kids is learning them to handle difficult people in healthy ways.
Jesus was angry. In his anger, he did not sin. How can we learn to do the same?
If you have evaluated their environment (home, childcare, school, etc.) and it seems good, don’t be baffled by your children’s angry behavior. There are all kinds of personalities in this world, and some just run hot.
These kids need help to learn how to navigate strong feelings and behaviors in healthier ways.
Further, younger kids often lash out in anger because they are frustrated that they don’t have the words to express what is going on inside of them.
Sometimes what appears as “anger” is actually a deep frustration in wanting to do something, perform well, communicate better or understand their world more. This is a very natural part of a child’s development process.
It takes patience and training from a parent to know how to help your kids learn to deal with their emotions. Often times, helping kids identify their emotions and name them can be powerful.
It is healthy to say, “It appears you feel angry right now. Let’s get self control and then I can help you learn how to deal with the anger you feel.”
When kids are in a heightened sense of anger, they often move into fight or flight mode, and their frontal cortex beings to shut down. Giving them time to get control will help their brains tune in to your teaching or discipline. Read more about that technique here.
Staying calm yourself will help model the behavior you want as well. Lower your voice, lean away from your child and work to maintain your own control.
Breathing is very effective and can lower heart rate. As a parent, use this tool. Number 3 on this list here of ten ways to calm an angry child provides a child-friendly answer to teaching breathing techniques.
Ten Ways to Calm an Angry Child
Below I have listed a number of tools that should help you and your child deal with anger.
- Have them fold their hands. This is a proven method to help relax a child.
- Hold them close or have them put heavy covers on their bodies. The pressure on their bodies is calming. This is especially true for many kids that struggle with sensory processing. Weighted blankets or compression shirts can help too. My sensory kid liked to be wrapped tightly in a blanket and then sat on. Of course, this needs to be done in a loving way that is approved by the child. I’d wrap her up, at her request, sit on top to add the pressure that comforts and then we’d work through the alphabet to name animals or food. I must emphasize that this technique only works with strong, loving relationships and the child’s OK.
- Have them blow bubbles. This teaches taking deep breathes, which are soothing. In breathing, try and make the exhale longer than the inhale.
- Have them punch a punching bag or a pillow.
- Give them old paper and have them shred paper into a recycle bin.
- Let them write a letter about their anger.
- Encourage them to draw a picture about their angry feelings. Even scribbling can be relaxing to an angry child.
- Have them shoot hoops.
- Have them run around the house outside. Physical outlets like running, planks, or sit-ups can be effective. Read more about the benefits of heavy work here.
- Give them a warm bath.
If you are a mom or care giver working with a child who has anger issues, it is not easy. It will test your patience. Have grace with yourself as you work to model and teach how to remain calm when emotions run high.