The original 9 Calm Down Ideas poster for managing big emotions has been in circulation for some time now and I have received feedback from a small number of readers to say that they are uncomfortable with one of the original poster suggestions – punch a pillow. I completely understand. Directing a child to what is commonly considered an aggressive action can definitely feel like it is more fueling the anger rather than helping a child to calm down. I have been directed to research that suggests that non-violent venting is preferable for calming, which clearly makes sense. On the flip side, I have also received feedback from parents who find that this is indeed a strategy that works for their child. One mother recently shared; “Just for the record, #2 is really helpful for my boys. Sometimes they need to use their muscles first, before they can find their words. [It] usually only takes one hit, and we always work on words after they calm down.”
So where does that leave us? I guess with a compromise! There are now two versions of the poster for you to choose from. Both include physical, active, big muscle suggestions alongside quieter responses. Both work as a companion to the first poster in this series – 5 Steps to Managing Big Emotions – providing a natural continuation to the final step of that initial calm down process – providing children with ideas for taking the extra time they need to calm down. I suggest you pick and print the one that suits your child and family best.
Suggestions for Introducing the Calm Down Ideas Poster
- Print out the poster and read through it together. Take time to talk with your child about their own, preferred calm down methods. Not all of the ideas will suit everyone, and that is okay – nominating one or two of the ideas from the list to try next time big emotions arise (or agreeing on another, different method of your own creation) is a good idea.
- Share your own preferences for calming down with your child too. It’s good for children to see adults dealing with conflict and big emotions constructively too.
- Display the poster together with poster #1 in your child’s bedroom, playroom or your family living area as a helpful, visual prompt for working through these big emotions together.
To download and print the new poster: Click here to open the poster as a PDF file. Download to your own computer. Open the PDF and print. When printing, select “Fit to printable area” (or similar) to ensure the page fits with your printer type and local paper size (these have been created at A4 size). I prefer to print ours onto matte photo paper. Personal, non commercial use only.