How To Calm A Crying Child? [Plus 7 Coping Skills]
A crying child is like a ticking timebomb!
And when you don’t know how to calm down a crying child, it can ruin your whole day.
If you have ever had a crying baby, then you know that it can be incredibly frustrating and stressful. You want to help them feel better but they don’t seem to respond.
But, don’t worry!
We’ve got you covered with this guide that will teach you how to handle the most common situations where kids cry for different reasons. Not just that, we have also compiled a list of coping skills that you can teach your kids to manage their emotions in a better way.
So, just keep on reading…
Why do babies cry?
There are many different reasons why babies cry? But luckily, you can solve most of these problems easily if you understand the cause behind them.
The most common reason for a baby to cry is hunger or needing a diaper change. Other causes include being overstimulated, wanting to be held, or being sick or in pain.
What can you do about a crying child?
For the majority of cases, like being hungry or overstimulated, there are easy solutions. They only require a few minutes of your time: satisfy their hunger or put them into a new diaper.
However, other cases might require more of your time and attention.
So when your child cries, start by examining that they aren’t sick or hurt. If you’re not sure, make an appointment with your GP or call your child and family health nurse.
Crying Child: Toddler
A stressful situation usually causes a toddler to cry. They can be hungry or they may be feeling too hot or too cold, uncomfortable in their clothes, wet and dirty from playing outside, or even scared.
Unfamiliar Envriotnemnt or Change
Toddlers usually start crying when things around them change suddenly like an unfamiliar environment, an additional workload on parents, and any other issues that may be bothering them.
Toddlers also cry when they want something but are not able to get it. They throw tantrums, hoping that their parents will give.
While some toddlers like to be left alone, others feel lonely if they are left alone for too long. But remember that you cannot treat them the same because some toddlers may take more time to get used to the situation.
Away From Mommy or Daddy
When their favorite people, mom, and daddy, are away for a while, they also cry. It is better not to leave them alone if you are out for long hours. It is better to take them with you so that they can be at peace.
While sadness, loneliness, and fear are the most common causes, any other thing that makes your child uncomfortable may also lead to crying.
Crying for Attention
Toddlers are smart, and they understand that crying will bring attention from their parents or caregivers. They like to be at the center of attraction by throwing tantrums or crying in front of people. So, if you are a parent, make sure that you give your children attention even if they are not in the mood.
Your child might be in pain for any reason, such as teething, etc. In that case, try offering some cold stuff to soothe any pains she may be feeling. If none of the methods work, then you must take your child to a doctor to see if there is anything she needs urgently.
A child could also cry because of an earache or tummy ache. When they feel better, they stop crying. A doctor will always be able to help you with any health concerns your child has.
Tricks For Calming a Crying Child Quickly
The tricks here will surely help you calm down your child in no time.
Whatever the reason for crying child, it is your job as a parent to help your child calm down and feel better. When they are calm, you will have a happy child, and they will feel safe with you.
When your baby cries, pick them up gently. If you are holding them already, try rocking them backward and forwards on your legs. Singing or humming can also help soothe the child if they like it that way.
Calming a Fussy Baby
When your baby is just fussing, try to figure out what they want. Quick Tips can be: Offer them a drink if they are thirsty or a pacifier if hungry. A toy can also distract them, or you can take them for a walk in the stroller.
Make sure your baby is not hungry; it might help to feed them. Their need for food can cause crying if they are too fussy about eating even though they are very hungry.
Regularly changing their diapers and clothes might also help in calming a fussy child down.
Calming a Crying Child
If your child is screaming, try finding out the reason and fix the issue ASAP. If you don’t know what it is, check for injuries on their hands or feet.
Suppose you can’t find anything, then look around for anything that may have caused the crying, such as nearby animals or someone yelling.
In some cases, instead of calming a baby down by picking them up, you can let them cry until they become tired. This is dangerous for babies below 2 years of age.
For older children, this may be ok, but make sure that your child does not feel abandoned and has no medical problems before doing it.
Attempt to calm the child down. But in some cases, you may have to go for what is called the ‘cry-it-out method.’
Crying Child: Preschoolers and School-going
Children cry less as they grow older. But it is not unusual for preschoolers and school-going children to cry occasionally, especially when things don’t go their way.
A child might cry if they are hungry or because they have a bad dream. They might cry if someone was hurt or died. They might even pretend to be upset, just so that they could get something from you.
But the good news is…
Once children can talk, it’s much easier for them to express their feelings and needs when feeling upset.
How to manage crying child: preschoolers or school-going
If the child is physically OK, try these ideas to manage his crying behavior:
If the child is hungry
Try giving the child a snack first. Sometimes, just giving them something to eat will make them feel better. Don’t ever give them candy or other sweet treats to stop their crying because children need healthy food for energy and good nutrition.
If the child is tired or sleepy
Don’t try to force your child to stay awake when they are tired and sleepy.
If the child is hurt
If your preschooler or school-going child is sad because of hurt, show love and compassion by hugging them or letting them know it will be all right. Encourage them to talk about how they feel.
You could say something like, ‘It’s ok to cry when you feel sad. Remember, I cried because I banged my head, and it hurt?’
But gently remind them not to take out their feelings on others and not to hurt themselves. If the child is upset because of a death or loss, ask your school-going child how they feel, but don’t force them to say anything if they are not ready.
Love them generously, but avoid giving false assurances about how things will be OK when you aren’t sure.
If the child is angry at you
As hard as it is, don’t take it personally. Reminding your child of past promises will only frustrate them more. Instead, give them space to cool down.
If the child is pretending to be upset to get something from you, be firm with your limits. Tell them, “I’ll be happy to help you when you are ready to talk and not crying.”
Then leave the child alone until they can calm down. If they continue to use manipulative or coercive behavior, calmly tell your child that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
If you give in, your child will learn that crying is a good way to get what he wants and might use this tactic again. No matter how many times you say no, they will be admant in getting what they want from you.
Teach kids how to handle their Emotions
Teaching kids how to process their feelings can be a confusing task because of the abstract nature of these emotions. Even if you have a solid understanding of your feelings and those around you, it’s difficult to articulate them for children so young.
If children are given ways to express what they’re feeling, they won’t use temper tantrums, aggression, or defiance as a way to communicate their emotions.
A child who can say “I hate you” is less likely to hit. And a child who can say, “That hurts my feelings,” is better equipped with conflict resolution skills.
Name their Emotions
Teach toddlers to recognize basic emotions such as happy, sad, and mad. Older children can progress to more complex feelings words like frustrated, disappointed, or nervous.
A way to help kids learn about feelings is to talk about how characters in books and TV shows might feel. Pause and ask, “How do you think he feels now?” Then talk about the different feelings that he might be feeling and why he may be feeling them.
You can teach empathy by discussing other people’s feelings with your kids. Young kids think everything revolves around them, but when you teach them that pushing a friend to the ground may make them angry and sad, they’ll be less likely to do it.
Separate Emotions vs. Behaviors
Children must learn healthy and appropriate ways to express their emotions. Some behaviors may be considered inappropriate in a public setting, such as screaming on the bus or throwing tantrums at school.
Children can be angry, scared, or sad—and it’s normal and OK. But they must know there are always more choices to how they respond to their bitter feelings.
While they have every right to be upset, children don’t get a free pass to take their anger out on other people. Likewise, while it’s natural for them to feel disappointed when they can’t find their favorite toy at the store, that doesn’t permit them to roll on the floor in public.
Control your child’s behavior, not their emotions. You can say, “You are going to time out because you hit your brother,” or “you are losing this toy for the whole day because you screamed too loudly.”
Teach Coping Skills
How well can your child regulate their emotions? The ability to handle big emotions develops as children grow and develop. Usually, toddlers’ ability to repress behavior is low.
This doesn’t mean you can’t start training them how to control their emotions, though. By the time they enter preschool, many children have acquired skills to help them manage their feelings better.
Here are some helpful coping skills you can teach your child to help them manage and control their emotions.
Practice deep breathing
Teach your children to focus on their breath. Have them watch you take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, or use another method for breathing exercises. Offer the child helpful suggestions to make it easier, such as “smelling a flower” and “blowing up a balloon.”
Little children calm down quickly because their bodies typically follow their breathing patterns.
Help them do this for few times in their upset moments, but encourage them to use this technique themselves in the future.
Count to calm down
Counting can help your child to divert themselves from upsetting thoughts. Say them to count ceiling tiles, count to 10, or count down from 100, etc. These are few mental tasks that might lessen their suffering.
Take a break
When a child is overly frustrated or upset, allow them to step away from the situation for a moment of self-reflection. If they are in school, the teacher could send the kid out for a sip of water to have some private time to collect themself.
Anticipate a tantrum before it becomes a problem. Make sure your child knows that the time-out is a way to calm down. This way, children will be in control of when it’s okay for them to come out again.
Make a cool-down kit
Fill a box with items that help your child calm down. They can be coloring books, crayons, scratch-and-sniff stickers, pictures your child enjoys, soothing music, etc. These are just some ways to give them something else to focus on instead of being upset or sad.
Problem-solve with your child
No one wants to play with your child because he cries all the time. Or, he’s unable to participate in sports activities because they get angry if they lose. These are some problems that you must solve with your child.
If you have a child who has problems coping with their emotions, work together to solve the underlying issue. Ask them for their input, and they might come up with some practical solutions on their own to get back into activities they enjoy doing.
Find the mood boosters
Talking to a child about the activities they enjoy when they are happy might inspire them to find ways to feel better. Parents can list out these activities and tell kids that activities act as “mood boosters.” When children have difficulty coping, parents should encourage them to engage in one of their mood boosters.
Give emotional support
You can help a crying child by giving them comfort and love. Offer your attention, not just food or toys. Remind them how proud you are when they’re working through something tough. Tell them some hugs will make it better. This is the first step in teaching children to calm themselves down.
Learning to manage one’s emotions is a lifelong skill that many children are still developing. Not to mention, some kids may have an inborn characteristic of being overly emotional.
Managing emotions is something that children can learn, but it takes time and patience. Kids with big emotions usually feel intensely, which means they may also be very empathetic or passionate leaders. While they may feel emotions or anger at a level 100, they may also feel happiness and excitement at the same intensity level.
A little more help, direction, and endurance from you may be all they need to learn how to manage their emotions constructively. The work you put into helping your child will benefit them for the rest of their lives!