Having them take 10 deep breaths can be very helpful, although most kids don’t know how to take a deep breath. Here are two ways to teach them:
1. This one is better for younger kids. Ask them what their favorite food is to smell (lets say that their favorite is pizza). Tell them when they breathe in, to breathe in through their nose like they are smelling pizza. A BIG deep breath. When they blow out, breathe out their mouth like they are blowing out a birthday candle. If they are blowing too shallow, tell them “that would not have blown out the birthday candle silly, try again”. Have them do this 10 times.
2. This one is better for older kids. Ask them to pick a color associated with positive feelings (often kids pick blue, yellow, pink) and have them pick a color they think of when they think of bad feelings (often black, brown, purple). Tell them when they breathe in through their nose to imagine breathing in that good color which swirls around their body. When they breath out, imagine that bad color leaving their body so that every breath in and out there is less negative and more positive. If they feel comfortable closing their eyes, this is a good thing as well. Have them take 10 deep breaths like this.
3. Ask them, when they are not mad, what might make them feel better. Examples include taking a walk, playing catch, and punching a pillow all make kids feel better. Often when you are able to get energy out, you feel better. Ask them to make a list that you can then give them when they are mad. So this way, when they are mad they are following their own rules, not yours.
If this isn’t working and you need help with this process, it is probably time to get outside help. If you are looking for a child therapist in Long Beach, Lakewood or the surrounding areas, please give me a call to ask me a question or to set up an appointment.