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How to mindfully manage a tantrum

How to mindfully manage a child's tantrumOn a good day, motherhood is an exhilarating spiritual journey.

On a bad day it’s an exhausting, frustrating ride where we are tested beyond our limits through sleep deprivation, stress, relationship tension, mastitis and self-doubt.

Mindfulness has been a crucial part of my motherhood survival tool kit, helping me to manage the challenges and be present enough to appreciate the daily magic.

Mindfulness is a training which gives us more capacity for self-awareness, so that we can be present to what’s happening, and respond with greater calm and wisdom.

It’s been a particularly helpful tool for managing tantrums with greater ease. Here’s a few tips on how to mindfully manage a tantrum …

How to mindfully manage a tantrum

Recognise

When tantrums strike, it’s easy to get triggered and lose your calm. Our children’s cries are designed to set off our inner emotional alarms, to protect them from danger. However, most tantrums are a developmentally normal step which reflects your child’s attempt at asserting themselves and developing greater agency in the world.

To move yourself from stressed and panicking to calm and grounded, first consciously recognise what’s happening and silently label “tantrum” to help you not get lost in the emotional storm. By actively labelling “tantrum” you’ll be activating the higher regions of your brain which allow you to think more clearly, problem solve and stay calm rather than fall into panic.

Breathe

During a tantrum; you may notice your breath has become restricted or fast as your emotions are triggered. Turn to your breath as a way of anchoring yourself to calm.

While you respond to your child with calming words and full presence; try to slow your breath down and extend out the exhalation which will calm down your nervous system.

Be compassionate

It can be easier to get frustrated at your child and at yourself when tantrums happen. So, take a moment when the tantrum has past to remind yourself that this is a normal part of most children’s development.

Remember you are not in this alone. Put your hand on your heart and offer yourself warmth, love and self compassion. You are doing the best you can.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool that can help you bring greater calm, focus and clarity to your daily life. Just 10 minutes a day can improve your sense of wellbeing.

About Dr Elise Bialylew

Dr Elise Bialylew is the founder of Mindful in May, an online global mindfulness campaign that teaches thousands of people worldwide to meditate, whilst raising funds to build clean water projects in the developing ...

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1 Comment so far -
  • Suse says:

    Thank you for this article. How timely. I have just finished your live meditation this evening and have signed up for my first mindful in May. I have just linked that the meditation and the author of this article was the same person.
    I have a 2 year old and am expecting a baby in 3 weeks. Both Mindful in May and this article I am hoping will give me the tools to manage the challenging and stressful times ahead or at least deal with them more mindfully!

    Thank you.

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