Helping Children on an Emotional Rollercoaster

When a child is experiencing intense emotions it can be frustrating and can take a lot of time to get them off. Here are some tips to help you get through these difficult moments

  •  Stay off the emotion rollercoaster yourself. If you allow yourself to get on you will only make the ride last longer. Children need the adult to stay calm and grounded in order to help the child get off.
  •  Create a safe place for all people in the home. When a child is experiencing intense emotions you may need to take the emotional child or other children to another room to ensure all stay safe. Also when there is an audience, it creates embarrassment which can intensify the already intense emotions.
  • Validate the child’s concerns in a calm and rational manner. Let the child know that you can see why they are mad, hurt, fearful, etc. Avoid telling them things like “You have no reason to be acting this way.” This can cause the child to feel like they cannot experience emotions or that something is wrong with them and can intensify the emotions.  
  • If the child is safe, don’t be afraid to walk away and allow time for the child to calm down before continuing any engagement with the child. 
  • If possible get help from another who can help support you in staying calm and helping the child stay safe. 
  • Show the child plenty of love after they have finally calmed down. Use this time to calmly talk to the child about other ways to express how he/she is feeling in more productive ways.