The best Tools are important to get any job done. De-escalating is one of those helpful parenting tools.
De-escalating our upset child, or ourself for that matter, is one of the most important things a parent can learn. It is a skill to be practiced and honed.
Children who need de-escalating are in crisis, and many times they do not know why, what made them so upset, or how to calm down on their own.
When children are like this, they cannot just snap out of it. They need a systematic recipe for calming down.
1. Stay calm
When children are upset and out of control, the last thing they need is a parent in their face, in an aggressive manor. This is not the time to correct the behavior, teach, or to get your child to do what you want them to do. This is the time to get them back under control and think calmly.
2. Speak softly
The way we speak expresses our love and caring. We are showing our child that we are there for them, to get them to feel better — not to punish them or tell them what they are doing wrong. Also, when we speak softly, they need to quiet down to hear us. When they start to quiet down and listen, then the de-escalation has begun.
Moving the child from the current situation and area is something that will greatly change their mindset. New scenery gives them a chance to feel that they are away from what is making them feel out of control.
4. Ask them to breathe
Breathing is one of the best things anyone can do to reclaim control. Have your child take deep breaths and be aware of their breathing. You breathe in a calm controlled way and get them to breathe in the same rhythm as you are. When we are breathing in the same rhythm of someone else, connection is established. Bringing your calm presence into the mix helps them to reclaim control.
5. Give them options
This gives your child an idea of other things they can do to calm down and get control. Give them alternative activities that you feel would calm them down. It ideally would be an activity they would do by themselves so they can feel the calming process.
6. The talk
After they have reclaimed control, then you can have a conversation with them about what happened and how to avoid the loss of control in the future.
Speak softly while having this conversation. Listen first to what they are expressing. This is the moment when your child will tell you what happened and what to do to help stay in control and not lose control in the future.
This is a great tool to have in our Parenting Tool Box.