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How to Calm Down Quickly Around Kids

3 Ways to Calm Down Quickly So You Don't Yell or Spank

"Everyone has times when anger gets the best of them," says a Circle of Moms member named Heather. In fact, many Circle of Moms members admit that when they're in the midst of disciplining their children, they find themselves yelling or spanking.

When you're upset with your child's behavior, it's hard to keep calm and avoid saying or doing something you'll regret later. But the benefits of keeping your cool are considerable. As Jennifer A. shares, kids get much more out of being disciplined "when you talk to them about why you are doing what you are doing."

To avoid acting out of anger in the heat of the moment, consider these three approaches to getting past it quickly, all offered by Circle of Moms members who are taming their own tempers.


Keep reading.

1. Count Till You're Calm

Jennifer A. encourages moms to "take it one step at a time." The first step, says Carrie, is counting to 10 before responding to your children, and reminding yourself that they don't misbehave to attack you personally, but "to test [you] and see what [you]'ll do." 

Another member, Dee Dee, sometimes counts as high as 25 until she is levelheaded. "Then afterward, I explain and reinforce what the rules are so there is no way they wonder why they got in trouble in the first place."

2. Redirect Everyone's Focus

Meghan A. notes that when your child acts up he is seeking attention, so if you can, "stop what you are doing, pick your [child] up and go play with him. It redirects both of you.”

She's not the only mom who's had success by changing the moment's focus. Pamela and Megan G. also both like to introduce an entirely new activity to dissipate anger. Megan puts on one of her son's favorite DVDs, and Pamela tries to make her kids laugh.

3. Take Your Own Time-Out

"All mothers need a little bit of peace and quiet, so when you're starting to feel frustrated, just let yourself have a time-out," Ann advises. She puts her daughter in a playpen and goes into a room by herself if she finds herself losing patience with her daughter. 

Sherry B. agrees that walking away can help restore the calm. "My daughter tests me every day, and I catch myself when I get frustrated with her. I have to leave the room and take some deep breaths." The brief break allows her to remind herself that "it is not her that I am mad at — it is the way she is acting, and I know that she is still learning things, and it takes time and patience."

There are other ways to take breaks. Louise G. and Juliana C. duck out just long enough to sip some tea or drink a glass of cold water. Carries explains that taking the time for this break gives her much-needed "breathing space," and Juliana shares that this little interlude gets her ready to correct her children's behavior calmly. And if all else fails, do what Alicia does: "Scream into a pillow." As she explains, "having kids is the hardest thing on the face of this planet."

Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
JoCarynSantos1378563648 JoCarynSantos1378563648 4 years
I can see myself getting so much more upset if I walk away. My husband says I can't think when I'm angry, I can only stew and he's right. However, I REALLY enjoyed this because I haven't tried anything and I NEED to. Especially when my step daughters are here every other weekend and I go from having 2 kids to having 4 kids. THANKS!!! <3
AlishaRadtke AlishaRadtke 4 years
OK I don't agree withmuch of this but there is a difference between a spanking and a swat on the butt, I do the swat on the butt but ONLY when it is needed. A raised voice does need to happen or how else are they going to know when they are doing something wrong there has been times when I have yelled yes and it does make me feel guilty and I do apoloagize right fter I have and explained that my buttons have been pushed to my limits and that I am not happy with what I have done but also what she/they are doing and that when it happens both of us are hurt. No No Johnny just doesn't work at all are there different ways to disipline a child yes but no no johnny just is not one of them.
Julieann31394 Julieann31394 5 years
Can I just interject one thing also that worked really well for me. Follow through. I once hid around the corner and caught my toddler 12 times in a row pushing buttons on our stereo. Each time I calmly came out and said No No and and led him away from it. After that day, he never touched it again.
Julieann31394 Julieann31394 5 years
I always tried to keep in mind that I was not dealing with a rational person, so to speak. It allowed me to NOT take bad behavior personally. That helped keep me calm, so I could teach him a better way to deal with whatever was getting him worked up. (Also gave myself timeouts occasionally when I felt overwhelmed).
CoMMember13610979993656 CoMMember13610979993656 5 years
I'm going to jump in (I rarely do) and say that I have to agree with everyone else on #2. I have explained to my children when they are acting up, that they will not get positive attention for negative attention. My 2nd child, in particular, we have really had to work hard with. He will often act up when he's having a problem (hunger, thirst, needing attention, etc.) and we have continually insisted that he use his words or take care of his problem without making problems for others. "When we have a problem, we talk about it or take care of it. Making problems for others is not an appropriate solution." He is 7 now and has come a very long way. But I know if I had played with him when he was acting up, we would be in a very bad place right now.
CoMMember13630575134371 CoMMember13630575134371 5 years
Number 2 may work in some cases, 1 and 3 just makes me more upset. I sometimes have luck trying to see the situation from the outside, like imagining that I am giving myself advise on how to handle the situation on a nanny show or something.
JenniferThomason32088 JenniferThomason32088 5 years
I would like to point out that it's okay to a certain extent to be angry in front of your kids. Of course being overly crazy mad isn't good, but to show an appropriate response is healthy. For instance, if my child is found to be cheating in a game of cards (happened to us this weekend) it may be wise to show that kid how upset that behavior makes me. As long as I'm not yelling or hitting-I let him know how angry I feel because of his actions. I don't redirect- I let him feel ashamed for doing something wrong. We are not here to be their friends, we're here to teach them right from wrong! :)
JayaManish JayaManish 5 years
Thanks for this article. I always loose my cool when i see my son doing things he is not supposed to. sometimes i yell at him and he starts crying. then i feel bad and regret my behavior but sometimes its so hard to keep your cool. my mother who lives with us takes his side and then i become the bad person. i feel so scared sometimes when i think that he might stop loving me for this. well thanks a feels great to know that everyone goes through this and now i can try your measures to control my anger............and yes having children is the hardest thing in this world....................
NicoleMiller77010 NicoleMiller77010 5 years
@Kimberly- so true! I totally agree that #2 reinforces the bad behavior!
CoMMember13611619832028 CoMMember13611619832028 5 years
As a behavior specialist, I have to say that # 2 is only going to reinforce the negative behavior. A child learns that he can act out to get what he/ she wants - to watch a dvd, etc. You should teach your children to act appropriately and then reward them for it... reinforce positive behavior, discipline for negative behavior. By doing the second suggestion, the negative behavior may stop temporary but will be repeated the next time the child wants attention, a reward, etc. Give attention for positive behavior, discipline and then ignore negative behavior.
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