Teach them when they are young…

The other night we were eating dinner. And as most dinners go with toddlers, Q never wants to eat what I cook. We say, “If you want to have a dessert, you need to eat all of your dinner.” He then repeats “but I want dessert” about 50 times. With smoke coming out of my ears and Q on the brink of a huge fit, I say, “Q just go take a break and calm down. Go read a book or lay down in your room and come back when you have calmed down.”

What he does next leaves both my husband and I in shock! He gets up without throwing a fit and leaves the kitchen. A few minutes pass and it is quiet so I decide to sneak around the house to see where he went. I go to his room, he is not there. I go up to the book nook and this is what I see.


I see my boy sitting in his comfy chair reading a book! This is a proud parent moment right here! For months now we have been working with Q on different ways he can calm down.

Here are the 4 ways we are teaching Q to calm down:

  1. Take deep breathes. (“Breathe in and blow out the candles”)
  2. Read a book
  3. Listen to calming music
  4. Ask for a hug and kiss.

As I climb up the stairs and stare at him, I am grateful. I am grateful that he is learning ways to help him deal with his frustrations, anger and sadness in healthy ways. I am proud that he is putting these strategies into practice and that it is helping him!

After a few minutes, Q notices me there staring at him. I ask him what he is doing and he says, “I am reading a book to help me calm down Mommy.” I smile and ask, “Are you feeling a little better?” He says, “I am feeling a little less sad but I need a couple more minutes.” I laugh and say, “Okay, buddy. I’m very proud of you. Whenever you are ready, we will be waiting for you in the kitchen to finish your food.”

A few minutes later, he comes down and finishes his food and he gets his dessert.

Sometimes we forget that our kids are really just like us. How often do we need to take a little break and calm down?

“[There is a] direct connection between how kids feel and how they behave. When kids feel right, they’ll behave right. How do we help them feel right? By accepting their feelings. ”

-How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

As most moms of toddlers know, they are balls of emotion.

Many times I forget that Q is 3 years old because he seems very mature for his age. My husband and I talk a lot about how he seems to understand things that other kids his age don’t. My son is an old soul. He is smart, funny and compassionate. I sometimes catch myself talking to him like I do my high school students and have to tell myself, “Christy. He’s only 3.”

Toddlers are still just trying to understand what their world is all about. Everything is so new to them, especially all these emotions that they have never experienced before. What we fail to remember is that they don’t have the vocabulary quite yet to identify what they are feeling nor do they know how to deal with them. I feel like our jobs as parents is to help them speak in the vernacular of how they feel. Once we can help them identify what they are feeling, it is then that they can find solutions to help themselves.

…it’s important that we give our children a vocabulary for their inner reality. Once they have the words for what they’re experiencing, they can begin to help themselves.

-How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish



My hope is that as we continue to help Q identify his emotions, he will form a habit on how to cope with each emotion in a healthy manner so once he matures and grows older, he will have a variety of approaches he can use to help himself.


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