Techniques for regulating a child's anger

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2 years ago

The regulation of a child’s anger is a topic that seems to have no end. Some parents walk away when their child loses his temper and simply ignore the child, others get angry and confuse the child even more, still others emotionally ‘freeze’ because they don’t know how to react. However, few parents know that an angry child does not yet know how to calm himself.

If we adults know that intense emotional states are something current that is happening inside us, however, children are still too young to understand this. They feel anger as a very intense physical and emotional sensation that overwhelms them, unaware that it is something normal and that it will pass. That is why the active involvement of parents is essential for the healthy regulation of anger. Only in this way will the child learn that this emotion is something completely manageable.

I present to you some concrete techniques based on redirecting attention with the help of the body.

1. Grounding:

- Sensory level: The child focuses on all sensory perceptions - what he hears in his surroundings, what he sees, what he smells and what he feels. Ask him in a gentle and warm voice and don’t rush. With this technique, the child's anger is redirected.

- Hand washing: The senses are also involved in this technique - the child is instructed to wash his hands for at least 3 minutes. He should pay good attention to each finger separately, the back of the palm and the wrist. In the process, let him feel the softness of the soap, the water running down his palms… which calms him down.

- Muscle relaxation: The child involves all muscle groups in this technique - first tenses the muscles, then relaxes them. He starts with his palms clenched into a fist, holds and releases. Then he continues the same with the other muscles of the arms, legs, abdomen… Parents, of course, need to guide him soothingly.

Some parents react to their child's anger with even greater anger, which confuses the child.

2. Sensory activation:

- Strong hug: One of the basic techniques that experts strongly recommend in regulating a child's anger is a long and strong hug. The child will calm down if you squeeze him close to you during the outburst of anger and keep him in this position for a while. Whether he is defending himself or screaming, eventually his body will calm down.

- Muscle activation: It often helps if a child has to carry a load involving several muscle groups after an angry outburst. Of course, it is important that it is a burden appropriate to his age. It is a kind of sports activity that helps the child to achieve peace and relax.

- On your head? It may seem a little strange at first glance, but this activation helps a lot when the body is flooded with heavier feelings. Hanging on your head in a children's exercise playroom or at home on a sofa helps to activate the body, regulate heavier feelings and calm down. Because the whole body is always involved in emotions, it is important that anger can be released through movement, physical activity, sports activity.

3. Vigilance:

- Breathing: We all know that saying: ‘Breathe, breathe’. In a child, this technique can be used in mindfulness training, which is used as a way of contact with the body and with oneself. In cases where the child is agitated, he can be guided through breathing: slow inhale - short pause - long exhale. And so on until we feel the child is reassured.

- Toy and feelings: We can offer the child a toy that should be made of many materials (wool, rubber, plastic (). Let the child hold the toy in his hands and describe what he feels, what the material is like, it is soft, it is hard, it is cold… This will transfer his attention to sensory experiences.

- Jumps: Have the child jump into the air 3 times, then sit on the floor, touch his chest and count his heart rate.

Healthy regulation of a child’s anger involves physical contact (e.g., a soothing hug) and a wording of his well-being (e.g., I see you’re angry. It’s wrong for that to happen to you. You feel uncomfortable because you’re powerless ... etc.). The child thus learns that the anger that overwhelms is not something uncontrollable. In addition, we can also use the techniques described above, which help to relax and calm the child.

Thank you for reading.



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Written by
2 years ago


Great content here. I relate to this topic so much. I have my nephew age 3 and he is so inquisitive, but still has temper tantrums. So at times, it's very challenging to deal with.

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2 years ago

Yes,it is challenging dear but child anger could be manageable if it is handled correctly.

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