10 Reasons to Let Your Kids Choose How and When to Calm Down

An icon illustrating a parent and child

An icon illustrating a parent and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As parents, we’re often given messages to quiet our children when they’re upset. Often, these messages are more for the purpose of keeping things quiet or not dealing with our own discomfort that our child is not behaving in an appropriate way. Yet, how much of our discomfort and wish for quiet stems from the idea that showing emotions are good or bad? How much of the urge to calm comes from the need to control or appear a certain way?


If parent and child are working together to connect and love unconditionally, sometimes the more difficult path is the more rewarding. Allowing bumps and bruises as a child explores their world, is important for both physical and emotional development. As parents, we can model and share our own life lesson with our kids, trusting that they take them into their explorations as they make their own choices. And internalized versions of lessons are the most powerful ones a person can create.


The strong bond of unconditional love is only strengthened by stepping back and trusting a child. They know we are there to swoop in when needed for real emergencies. They give back trust to us every time we are allowed to express love and are given a window into their feelings through their words and actions.


1. It allows them control over their own coping skills.
2. It takes parental urge to control quiet and discomfort out of the equation.
3. It lets kids know that all emotions are acceptable.
4. It gives kids the chance to understand that feeling out of control is not something that need overwhelm you.
5. It allows kids the opportunity to personalize calming skills that they have seen their parents model.
6. It gives parents a mirror to learn how their own coping skills and emotional acceptance actually are.
7. It lets the child decide when, if and how to ask for and accept comfort.
8. It eliminates pushing parents’ buttons that can sometimes be a factor in prolonging upset.
9. Choice can be done from a parent’s arms or privately, wherever the child needs.
10. Most importantly, a child learns that they have the right to feel and will be loved no matter what.

How comfortable are you allowing your child choose how and when to calm? Is it easy or difficult for you? I’d love to hear from you.



7 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Let Your Kids Choose How and When to Calm Down

  1. Pingback: Why Play Calming Games? « The Sensory Spectrum

  2. I’m mostly okay with letting my 4-year-old calm herself down, but lately she’s working herself into a state of hysterics when playing with her brother and ends up hurting him to make him stop. Any suggestions?

    • Thank you for commenting. I’m working on a couple of posts about temper, tantrums, toddler/preschooler language skills for coping & hitting. I’ll try to get them up quickly and if I take too long, I’ll write a reply here. It’s been a long day 🙂

  3. Beautifully said, Zoie. I particularly love number ten. It’s all about validating our children in their right to be who and how they are, isn’t it? I have a fairly easy time with letting Annabelle have the reigns on this one at home. Where I struggle is out in public, where I swear I can feel the judgmental eyes boring into me anytime things get noisy. Still working on letting the fear of judgment go!

  4. I try to let my little one calm down at her own pace. I don’t use time outs any more. Instead I try and give her choices. It’s hard, but rewarding!

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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