#0165: Knowing How to Calm Down a Crying Child

Baby cryingFor someone who never plans on having children of his own, I have become very, very good at getting kids to stop crying or yelling.

For example: last night I was in my room surfing the internet when I started hearing this loud crying/screaming combination going on in some other room in the apartment. Turns out, it was my 2-year old godson, who was upset that my friend – i.e. his Mom – had taken away a spray water bottle and told him it was bed time. The way he was crying, you would have thought he had been punched in the stomach or something!

At any rate, I was able to hear his screaming through my closed bedroom door; after about 5 minutes, I decided enough was enough. I walked out my room, across the hallway, and into the room where my godson was crying. I walked up to the bed and…

Okay, before I finish the story, a bit of back story: when I was young, there were times where I’d get upset or angry and start crying. Rarely do I remember my parents yelling at me when this happen. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they NEVER yelled; however, my parents were generally of the belief that it was more beneficial to talk to us in a calm voice and give us some kind of explanation as to what was going on, or why a certain decision was being made.

The main reasons kids cry, I’ve discovered over the years, are because they either don’t feel like they’re being treated fairly, or they don’t have the full picture of what’s going on. Unfortunately, a lot of grown ups feel like kids shouldn’t have to get an explanation of what’s going on; that they should just listen because “I’m the adult, they’re the kid, and I make the rules!”

Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids, but I don’t like dealing with them in this way. I like to let them know exactly what’s going on so they won’t be as difficult to deal with. I also don’t like to yell at kids either. If a kid is yelling and screaming, they’re already in a chaotic state. Me yelling at them is only going to add to that chaos, which will only make them want to cry more. Instead, I like to talk to them in a calm voice while holding them someplace (the arms, shoulders) so that they can feel the peaceful energy I’m bringing to the situation.

When I do this, the kid is usually able to stop crying, listen to what I’m saying, and chill out a bit. And I’ve done it enough times now to where I don’t even get all that bothered when I’m with a kid and they start crying, ’cause I know how to calm them down when they do!

So, where was I? Oh yeah – so, I walked up to the bed where my godson was sitting up crying.  I sat on the bed, bent down to his level, and said:

“Hi. So, look, I know you’re upset, but right now it’s time to go to bed, alright? I know you want to spray the water bottle, but it’s night time now. So you need to go to sleep. Now, you can sit up and keep crying and eventually go to sleep, or you can save time and just go to sleep now. Either way, you need to go to sleep. It’s your choice.”

At that point, he looked at me and stopped crying. Then, he looked at the pillow I had placed next to him, placed his head on it, and went to sleep. Mission accomplished.

Ah, knowing how to calm down a crying child… now THAT’S something to be thankful for!

– Aaron P. Taylor

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