Getting your child to behave can be frustrating. Sometimes, that the harder you try, the worse the situation becomes. You might even get stressed and equally upset and say things you wish you could take back. In these cases, there are phrases that can work like a charm to get your child to calm down.
Bright Side picked some of the best phrases to use on your child when they throw tantrums.
1. “It’s okay to be upset.”
Emotions should not be suppressed, even the ugly ones. Saying, “It’s okay to feel upset” or “It’s good to let it out” acknowledges their feelings and lets them know that feeling emotion is important.
2. “I get angry too sometimes. Let’s try out our warrior cry to get those angry feelings in check.”
Warrior cry to scream and let the pain out. Sometimes it is better to do this because it is hard to be rational when you’re really mad. Anger can come from pain and a study has shown that it is important to vocalize the pain in order to improve tolerance.
3. “You seem to be feeling sad.”
Sometimes, it is hard to know why they are acting up because they themselves cannot put their feelings into words. While you cannot assume to know how they’re feeling, you can always try to suggest what they’re feeling. This is what the neuropsychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegel calls, “name it to tame it.”
4. “When you throw your toys, I think you don’t like playing with them. Is that what’s going on?”
Instead of yelling, “Stop throwing things!” try to help your kid to communicate their feelings. By using this phrase, you show them your perspective and also encourage them to tell you their perspective.
5. “You fell and your knee got scratched. Ouch!”
Rather than distracting or minimizing their feelings by saying, “Get up. You’re fine.” it is better to help kids make sense of their feelings. This is so that they will know what to do with the big feelings in the long run.
6. “It’s OK to be angry, but I won’t let you hit. We need to keep everyone safe.”
While trying to understand your child is crucial, it is also necessary to limit how they express their feelings, especially when it comes to violence. Instead of a “Don’t you dare hit!” warning, this gives a clear message that there is a difference between the emotion and how to express it. It says having the emotion is fine, but not the action.
7. “How you feel right now won’t last forever. It will pass and you will feel better again soon.”
In the heat of the moment, the emotion might be so overpowering that your child thinks that it is the end of the world. Telling them that it will pass serves as a reminder that things will get better.
8. “I will move over to the couch and I am here for you when you want a hug.”
Even a child sometimes just needs some space. If your offer to help is rejected, you may want to let them know that you’re giving them the time they need, but that you are still around if they need support.
9. “Can we start over?”
Suggest a do-over before their rage blinds them from understanding that they are getting worked up. This is a great way to get through anger, especially when nothing else works.
10. “What can we learn from this?”
Encouraging your child to grow through mistakes is something positive that can be achieved from their tantrum episodes. Learning from the reasons for having emotions and how to handle them better next time will help them in their life.
11. “Would you like to ask him if you can play with that toy afterward? We can play with this while we wait.”
When your little one wants a toy that another kid is playing with, you can help them cope with their feelings by suggesting an alternative. You let them know that it is still possible to get what they want as long as they try to get it in the right way. Or that there are other similar things that are available.
12. “Let’s go to our calm down space together.”
Instead of being authoritative and saying, “That’s it, you’re getting a time-out!” use this phrase to allow reconnection. Making them feel isolated by using punishing words will only lead to a power struggle.
13. “I see you haven’t brushed your teeth. Do you want to brush Elmo’s teeth first or yours?”
Toddlers throw tantrums to gain control over their environment. By giving them a choice, you’re giving them some sort of control and in turn you get to maintain the situation under control.
14. “You are safe.”
Children may throw fit because of fear. They may even be afraid of the consequences after acting out. If you tell them in a collected manner that they are safe, they are more likely to be able to behave better.
15. “You’re not eating your food. What can we do to make this food yummy?”
Fighting over food at the dinner table can be a daily torture. It is tempting to just give up and penalize them by saying, “Eat your food or you will go to bed hungry!” But rather than making it a war, you can place the responsibility of finding a solution back on your child.
16. “Today you see that when you fall, you can always get back up. Next time you fall, you’ll remember it’s no problem at all.”
This is a message to let them know that they can change and that failure isn’t permanent. It helps them resolve their current feelings and makes them want to try harder next time. These words may help them feel empowered to improve their behavior from within.
17. “Would you like my help?”
Allow them to choose whether or not you should have a hand in resolving their issue. Doing this puts the ownership on them and they will know that you’re there if they want help.
18. “I can see you didn’t hear me the first time. How about when I say it to you, you whisper it back to me?”
It can be hard to be heard when a child is trying to get your attention and not giving attention to you. By having your child repeat your words, your words are more likely to get through to them.
19. “Let’s take a breath for a minute.”
Give your child the time they need to sit with an emotion. Let them know that they can take their time to be in the moment with their emotion.
20. “I can see that you don’t want to leave the playground yet. What do you need to do to be ready to leave?”
Changing to a new activity can be challenging to a kid. Use this phrase to avoid a power struggle and give them a chance to adapt to the change easier.
Which of these phrases have you used on your child before? Do they work wonderfully? If you haven’t, would you consider using these phrases on your child?