Calm Tips

There are two main ideas for how to manage tantrums once they start. Both ideas start with, “stay calm yourself.” I know, this can take a whole lot of self-control. It can be difficult to stay calm when your child is losing it. Part of it is recognizing that losing it yourself likely just adds fuel to the fire and takes the tantrum up a notch. The other part is realizing what your child needs most in these moments is someone who is calm, who is safe to connect to, who is modeling calm emotions especially when all else feels out of control.

There are so many ways to stay calm. Of course, not every way works for every parent, so I am including calm tips in our emails often this year. Here are a few more ideas that may be helpful in tantrums as well as other times you need to stay calm.

  • Learn about child development. It can be calming to know that saying ‘no’ all day long and doing the opposite of what is requested are common two-year-old behaviors. It can be calming to know that five and six year olds are often driven by a sense of fairness and hearing, “that’s not fair,” is par for the course. There are a few good series on development including Touchpoint: Birth to Three and Three to Six by Brazelton and Your One Year Old thru Your Nine Year Old by Ames.


  • Shift your thinking to view the benefits of the negative behaviors. Every time your child is aggressive, think of it as an opportunity to teach them better ways to express anger and how to use their words. When your child has a tantrum, think of it as a chance for them to practice calming or an opportunity to teach emotion language.



  • Assume changing behaviors and learning new behaviors takes time. If you assume potty training will be a two day process, you may be frustrated when it takes two weeks. If you assume it will take a few months, than you are pleasantly surprised at the two week mark.


To learn more ways to calm, join me for my two evening session on Calm Parenting. The next workshop series is offered on June 2 and 9 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. For more information and to register, please visit:

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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