Calming Down at Tough Times

Enrichment Therapies

February 2, 2017

child covering their eyes to regulate emotions

Last week, I posted about using charts to help children develop an understanding of basic emotions. If you haven’t seen the blog post on emotion charts, check it out here before reading on! As students begin to better understand the emotions they are experiencing, we can start to work on dealing with negative emotions in an appropriate way. Below are some of the strategies we use during therapy sessions.


Practice some calming techniques. Try to first practice these strategies when your child is already feeling calm and content. This way, she can master the strategy with clear thinking. Later, when she might be feeling angry, worried, or upset, remind her of the strategy she practiced. Some ideas are:

– Counting to a specific number – Thinking of completely unrelated positive thoughts – Taking a specific number of deep breaths


For some students, having a designated ‘break’ spot is helpful for processing tough emotions. Whether in the classroom or at home, you can assign a certain spot within a room, or a certain chair, as the ‘break’ spot. In the moments when your child is dealing with more difficult emotions, such as feeling extreme worry or frustration, allow her to take a break.

Your child might have practiced a calming strategy at a previous time. Allow your child to take a break until the calming strategy(ies) have been used. Once your child has returned to a completely calm state, even if it is hours later or the next day, discuss what happened and how she can react appropriately next time.


If you find that your child has a difficult time sitting calmly and decompressing, try assigning the task of writing about emotions. Find a journal or notebook that can be specifically used for writing about emotions.

Let your child practice writing about emotions during a time when he or she is calm. Something very simple might be written, such as “I’m feeling calm right now. I like it when I feel calm because I can have fun with my friends without getting upset.”

After your child practices writing about emotions while he or she is calm, bring out the journal at other times, for example, when your child is upset, frustrated, or worried. Allow your child to choose how he or she would like to calm down. For example, “You can sit in your break chair or you can write about your feelings in your journal.”

Different techniques work better for different kids, so try to find the strategy that suits your child best!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.

740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317


5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


Related Posts