Simple Tip On Gentle Parenting – Counting To Ten To Calm Your Child

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Kids can meltdown and have tantrums for a variety of reasons – hungry, wet, tired or just not getting what they want. When you have a screaming, crying child you can’t reason with him and it’s easy to feel embarrassed when you are in public and people are giving you “the look”. You know – that judgmental look of “If that were my kid…”, “That kid is so out of control…” or “What is wrong with that parent?”

There are many schools of thought on discipline and child rearing. We are fans of gentle parenting – not yelling at or spanking children. One simple thing you can do when your child is having a meltdown is count to 10 with them. At the end, breathe deeply & ask your child to do the same with you. It’s simple, but it helps focus your child on something other than the meltdown at hand. It is rhythmic which calms your child. If your child can’t quite count yet, count for him or her and breathe deeply. You will see your child mimic your behavior. If your child is having a hard time hearing you above her screams, gently blow in her face. This triggers a natural reaction for your child to stop screaming and breathe.

What tips do you have to calm your child during a temper tantrum or meltdown?


32 Responses to “Simple Tip On Gentle Parenting – Counting To Ten To Calm Your Child”

  1. Felicia R July 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    I like to try to verbalize what they are feeling to try to let them know I acknowledge and understand how they feel and help them to understand it as well.

  2. Michelle July 31, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Great tip Felicia!

  3. Katrina July 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    I honestly don’t think this would work with either of my kids…. They are both strong willed and stubborn. 😉 I usually just ignore the behavior (unless there is a legitimate reason they are screaming) and they will eventually calm down.

  4. Colleen Maurina July 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    This is a great idea! Our little guy is in his terrible two’s and there is no reasoning with him until he calms down. We’ll have to give this a try.

  5. Christina C July 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Great idea! I am a big fan of gently parenting, and haven’t tried this technique yet.

  6. Anne Perry August 1, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    I love this!! For me nusing my little one usually calms him down. I will remember this for future use!!

  7. Bekah Kuczenski August 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    I will have to try blowing on my daughter’s face, I have never heard of that trick before!

  8. MichelleHalm August 1, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Bekah – Just used it tonight w/ my rather “spirited” 1 yr old. It’s amazing how it helps focus her. Sometimes I have to do it a couple of times along w/ the counting, but it sure beats yelling!

  9. amy pugmire August 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    Thanks for these tips!! I have 2 that do tantrums on a regular basis now.

  10. Rita Spratlen August 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    This sounds good! My kids are grown. I will try this with my grandson though!! Great tips to try. I don’t believe yelling or giving positive reinforcement is good either.

  11. Emily E August 2, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I do the breathing thing with my daughter- I’ll have to try adding in counting. I also heard to give them a drink to help them calm down but my daughter never seems to go for that.

  12. Jessica Beard August 2, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Thanks so much for these tips! I really like the idea of counting with your child. I feel this would help calm the parent and the child. Focusing on this will help the child get back on track.

  13. Brandy August 2, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    What great ideas. My son will benefit from this.

  14. Sandy VanHoey August 3, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    I need to try this with my grandson. He tends to have several of these meltdown moments, especially when he is tired and it can be so stressful. Maybe this would help us both out by doing this rather than both of us being upset.

  15. sandra August 3, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    since my toddler is older, i have tried to count backwards from 10 as well

  16. Marj McClendon August 3, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    I really appreciate this article. When it is hard for an adult not to yell or spank, what must a childs mind go through when they don’t have the tools to cope that adults do.

  17. Tammy Greer August 4, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    Counting sometimes does seem to help.

  18. Laura Jacobson August 4, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Oh great tips. We will have to try some of these. Carter has started when he has a tantrum now to bang his head on anything around. Its so hard to keep him safe when he does that. Will try some of these to see if they will help! I will also keep reading to see what other tips anyone else has!

  19. Rachel August 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    I love the idea to have not only you count to 10 but to also have your child count to 10. Sometimes that doesn’t always work and if my son is past the point of reasoning and trying to get him to count to 10, I just walk away (if possible…I of course don’t do this if we are in public) or try to ignore him. He then calms down on his own or at least to the point where I can talk and reason with him.

  20. Mallorie Kelly August 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    I have come to find that every child is different and things that work for some children will not work with others but I honestly believe gentle parenting is effective. There is no reason to yell or spank a child. It comes down to communication. If you want your child to act like a big kid you should treat them the same way you would treat another adult or a young adult. The most effective thing I have found to work is to effectively communicate with the child what you want and what you expect of them. If they are on the same page you are and understand why you aren’t giving them their way, they are more likely to respond in a more mature manner than throwing a tantrum. Parenting isn’t easy but it can be easier with proper communication between you, your spouse, and your children.

  21. D Schmidt August 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    This post is very interesting and does make me reconsider how I react to that situation.

  22. christine jessamine August 9, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    this is a wonderfull idea. it not only calms you down and possibly your child but it teaches him how to deal with problems later on in life in a positive way. thanks for the post!

  23. Lindsey Weisbruch August 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    I really like this counting to 10 technique. I am going to try this tomorrow with my 21month old girl. She screams all the time, mostly because she is having a hard time verbalizing. So I take her in my lap and talk softly to her until she calms down to figure out what she needs. But counting to 10 together might be a good start to helping her calm down so she can tell me what she wants.

  24. Jessica S August 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Great tip I will have to try with when my 3 year old has his moments!

  25. Amy August 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    We have friends who do this with their kids when they have a meltdown (blow in their face:) Our daughter is just at the tantruming part of life and we’re just experimenting with what works the best for her. Thanks for the tips…

  26. Alex Fisher August 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    My daughter is simple to calm down. We usually just have to hug her and calmly talk to her.

  27. Michelle August 13, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Interesting 6 points on the impact of spanking

  28. Eileen August 14, 2012 at 4:48 am #

    Yelling just escalates the situation. I know it is so hard to remain calm, especially in public. But your child does not learn self calming if YOU are not calm. Be firm but be reasonable. And remember, each child is different…different personalities, different thresholds, so what works on one may not be the same with another. I am not an authority, even with 6 kids it is a challenge to get it “right”.

  29. Becky August 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    I love this tip and will have to try it the next time the crying begins in public. Normally I try to distract them or talk to them, but the older they get the less that seems to work.

  30. Lisa Welch August 16, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    I remember the most effective way to calm my daughter down was to hold her snugly and sing softly to her. For some reason, singing always soothed her, even as an infant. I used to have to put on a certain CD and just stand in the livingroom holding her, dancing and singing.
    It worked every time.

  31. Jana August 16, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    I never thought of counting to 10. My daughter normally will start crying if she can’t get something to work and she’s in a mood. I normally try to help her calm down by telling her to stop crying, it will be okay, hakuna matata! Then we talk about how to solve the problem and then I walk her through it step by step.

  32. Shannon Draeger August 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I will get down to my sons level and sit him down and count to 30, I sit with him and tell him to Calm Down Calm Down. Usually he listens and realizes that I am there to help him through his meltdown and that I am not getting angry at him.