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8 Calming Phrases To Say To Your Child Having a Meltdown

Tantrums are frustrating for all of us and we have to work not to jump in and solve the problem or express our displeasure with their display of emotion. Here are eight calming phrases to help your child come out of a tantrum or meltdown.
toddler having a meltdown
Updated: February 12, 2020

Any parent knows the impending sense of dread that starts to rise as children throw themselves down ready for what is likely to be the next major meltdown. Little people learning how to navigate big feelings can get to the best of us. As you try and counteract the inevitable explosion, consider the following list of eight calming phrases to say to your child when they are having a meltdown.

More: How To Help Your Child During a Meltdown or Tantrum

“You sound upset and angry.”

By naming their feelings you are helping children identify what they are going through, which eventually will allow them to recognize and talk through their feelings.

“I get angry sometimes too, let’s figure this out together.”

Let your children know they are not alone, and that what they are feeling is normal.  As they relate to you, you can help come up with coping mechanisms and techniques to deal with their feelings.

“Maybe I can show you another way.”

In the thick of their emotions children may not recognize that there is another way to accomplish what they are trying. Instead of jumping in and completing the task for them, or getting frustrated with their behavior, try offering to help them find another solution.   

“This is hard for you, let’s take a break and come back in ‘X’ minutes.”

Depending on what is causing the frustration, and what setting you are in, determine what kind of break would be helpful. Being able to return to the task with a calm and clear head will help most children persevere and overcome their obstacles.

“I’m here to help if you need me.”

Jumping in and helping without being asked may give children the impression that you don’t think they are capable of completing the task on their own.  However, allowing them the freedom to ask for help without feeling like a failure is going to build their confidence to succeed.

“It’s ok to cry, I will be here when you are ready.”

Validate that what they are feeling is ok. Knowing that you are close by and there for them when they are calm and ready lets children know that they are supported no matter what.

“I’m sorry that this doesn’t feel fair.”

Just because it doesn’t feel fair doesn’t mean that it is going to change, but let children know that they are allowed to feel frustrated with the circumstances.

Every child is different, what works for one will not work for another. It is important to know your child, as Brittany McCabe, FamilyEducation Expert and Child Development Specialist, says “knowing their behavior will help in being able to solve tantrums before they begin.” However, once a tantrum has begun, it is most important that we stay calm and consistent when helping our children navigate their feelings. 

Tantrums are frustrating for all of us and we have to work not to jump in and solve the problem or express our displeasure with their display of emotion. In the long run, supporting children’s emotional growth with vocabulary, empathy and confidence will help them navigate through these feelings at future events.

Looking to tackle meltdowns before they even happen? Here are 6 Strategies to Help Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums.

Jennifer Caffelle

About Jennifer

Jennifer is currently working for a US-wide health care system, and has worked… Read more

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