When my son was 3, he was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. Not long after the diagnosis he had a meltdown over a Sponge Bob ice cream cone at a local zoo. Despite my efforts to entice him into a non-dairy treat, he insisted on the ice cream, and as the discussion continued, we both became more and more agitated. Eventually the incident ended in a full out screaming fit with my son lying down on his back and kicking his feet, while making balls out of his little fists. As a small crowd of people watched, I tried desperately to calm him down, eventually getting so angry myself that I picked him up and dragged him back to the car literally kicking and screaming.
Most parents of toddlers can relate to this story. Shortly after the zoo incident, I started yoga teacher training with YogaKids. In the ,training I learned many techniques to calm the body and the mind. I soon began to incorporate what I learned with my own children and it led to a harmonious journey into peaceful parenting the YogaKids way.
Take Steps to Prevent Tantrums
Setting clear boundaries, offering rewards for good behavior, and staying away from triggers will help to prevent tantrums. My son’s ice cream meltdown could have been prevented if I had steered clear of the ice cream stand in the first place. It would have also helped if, as a family, we avoided ice cream when together. Finding special non-dairy treats that my son liked and having those at-the-ready would also be a helpful tool to promote peace and happiness.
During a temper tantrum, it is very easy to get angry and frustrated yourself, but this will only fuel the situation. If you stop and observe how you feel during the tantrum, you may find an inner calm present behind the stress that eases the tension in the situation. If you find calm, that energy will help to calm your child. Your child will come to understand that they can trust you to be peaceful and calm no matter what, and will find this comforting. Observing your breath is a great tool to focus on while the tantrum is happening. Once your child has calmed down, speak softly with kindness and empathy. Let your child know you understand why they were frustrated, and practice peaceful breathing or a mindfulness technique after the tantrum is over. This will build your child’s “peace muscle,” your child’s ability to tap into that part of them that is full of ease and joy.
Tantrums Can Help Your Children Get Their Feelings Out
As long as your child is safe, tantrums can help them to release frustrations. Small children often have a hard time articulating how they feel, and they may not have developed coping skills to handle life’s everyday stressors. It is very healthy to release tension instead of keeping negative thoughts in. Crying, jumping up and down, or lying down and kicking can help to release tension. If we don’t express frustrations often, they lay dormant and can block positive energy and affect our ability to enjoy life.
YogaKids Tools for Temper Tantrums
YogaKids offers many tools to help kids release excess energy, move their bodies in healthy ways, and calm down and find peace.
Volcano – This pose offers a healthy outlet for tension.
Begin in Mountain pose; bring the fingertips together at the chest. Jump the feet apart. Place your palms together at the center of your body. Breathe in. Watch your hands as you raise them over head. Breathe out as you explode your arms outward. Lower them to your sides and return your hands to heart. Erupt and release again and again. Make big, exploding volcano noises.
Rocket Ship is another healthy way to blow off steam in a fun way.
Begin from a Squat, inhale and shoot your hands and body upward to the sky and make blast off noises. Come back down and do it a few more times.
Peace Breath – Once stored energy has been released, Peace Breath is a great way to calm the nervous system.
Close your eyes. Relax your face muscles. Let your skin drape over your bones like a soft blanket. Breathe in. Breathe out and whisper the word “peace.” Repeat 3 to 6 times
Swim Ducky Swim is a technique that can be used at the end of a yoga practice, at bedtime or anytime you have 5-10 minutes to calm down and help to increase focus.
Lie down on your back. Place a rubber ducky on your belly. Breathe gently in (your belly button rises) and out (your belly button sinks down.) As your belly rises and falls like the waves, your ducky surfs the waves as you inhale (breathe in) and floats as you exhale (breathe out). Give your ducky a slow and gentle ride with your breathing. You can used any small stuffed animal or favorite toy for this exercise.