Parenting 101

How to calm your 5-year-old down in 5 minutes

Introduction

It’s no secret that our son is a strong-willed child and frequent power struggles are the common theme of our days. As much as I would like to say that by now I know all the tips and tricks there are for handling a spirited child, I simply cannot. There are still many things I learn on a daily basis; that too, more often than not, only after I had lost my temper for the umpteenth time. But in the process, I have discovered this one simple trick which almost always helps calm my soon-to-be 5-year-old down (and me too in the process!).

I would love to take all the credit for stumbling upon this simple trick 😉 but actually, it was my husband who helped me see it.

So, if you are like me and are struggling with pacifying your kindergartener, try this simple trick to calm your 5-year-old down in 5 minutes (or less!) when he is in the throes of an angry bout:

Sit in Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and try Long Deep Breathing (A Basic Form of Kundalini Yoga) with your child for 5 minutes.

Below is a simple one-minute video showing how to do it correctly. For additional instructions and more information on the process, benefits etc. you can refer to this link as well.

The Power of Yoga

This trick may seem very simplistic and something that would never work, but I can say from experience that it does indeed. Of course, it requires some initial conditioning/training on your part to be usable during a meltdown. But once you have taught your child this Basic Kundalini Yoga, it could be a handy weapon for controlling tantrums, whining, and meltdowns. And I can assure you from experience that children as young as 4.5-years-old can learn it easily when sufficiently exposed to it.

Here’s the backstory of how it started for us

My husband’s job is very stressful and draining. So, to center himself and start his day on a positive note, he does some basic Pranayama in the morning. One fine day, when our son showed some interest in what hubby was doing, he took the opportunity to show him (our son) how to sit in the lotus pose (Padmasana) and take long deep breaths in and out chanting “OM” during exhaling.

At first, to our son, it was just a game. He’d wink and watch me through his half-closed eyes and giggle. But over time, he has learned to sit still and follow the instructions, more or less.

So now every time there is an anger issue, we try to use this knowledge to our benefit and faster resolution of conflicts.

How to use it during a meltdown

Once your child had learned the basic steps, you can easily use this in a meltdown or whining phase by following the tips below:

  1. DO NOT antagonize the child by saying he cannot have the thing he is whining about. On the days when I forget this, are the days when it becomes the hardest to control our son’s anger.
  2. Instead, just tell your child that you will discuss the topic with him only after he sits down with you and does the breathing exercise for five minutes. In places where sitting down is not possible, we just find a quiet corner, hold hands and close our eyes. He is so used to this tradition by now that he usually does not complain.
  3. If your child still insists on not listening, simply ignore the whining and sit in the lotus position (or stand, as the case may be) and start without him. Bonus Tip: Make it look like you are having tons of fun even if you are not!
  4. Within a minute or so, he will join in. Child Psychology 101 – Children always want to be a part of fun things! 😉
  5. When your child is settled, let him take the lead in the breathing process and chanting. Now hang back and see the magic transformation happen before your eyes. Do encourage the breathing from time to time if your child seems distracted from being fully calm and in control.
  6. By the time the five minutes are up – sometimes much earlier – you will have your happy and pacified child back. You can now proceed to discuss the point of conflict with an objective human. By now, he will be much more accommodating towards you and will not mind hearing the voice of reason.

Give this a try and let me know how it goes! It sure does work like magic in our home 🙂

PS: If you found this Parenting 101 tip helpful, please do share this post with your friends.

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