How to stay calm with your kids when you're losing it

We all lose our cool from time to time. At that moment, there's something strangely satisfying about being angry. We feel so justified. 

We all lose our cool from time to time. At that moment, there's something strangely satisfying about being angry.
We feel so justified. So sure we are right and everyone else especially our child (or partner) – is wrong. When the dust settles, however, we often find that perhaps we overdid it. Maybe our irritation was out of proportion to the size of the event.

Staying calm as a parent may come easier for some more than others. Here is a list of ways we can try to calm ourselves before our anger blows up our emotional world, and our relationship with our child.

1. Get enough sleep
Most important in my opinion. We are not our best selves or our best parental selves when we are tired. Our patience and openness are much higher when we are well-rested. Not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling irritable and cranky so first and foremost remember to get enough sleep. Where possible.

2. Try to see the world through their eyes
Often our children have the very best of intentions. They may draw a picture and end up with marker all over themselves, their clothes and the table, but the picture was for you because they want to make you smile and happy. Trying to see things from their perspective can sometimes help with caring less about the ruined clothes and table and more about how lucky you are to have a little one drawing you a picture.

3. Consider why
Most children act out for one of six reasons: hunger, anger, loneliness, tiredness, stress, or sickness. When we pause to consider why they're being difficult, we can help them solve problems rather than losing our cool.

4. Be compassionate
9 times out of 10 children don’t mean to misbehave. They do something the shouldn’t because they just don’t know any better or they don’t have the mental maturity to know that something is wrong. Children rarely think of consequence. Trying to always be compassionate can help change our mindset from negative to positive and help us keep our calm.

5. Bite your tongue
A common misconception about anger is that if we get it out we will feel better. Science suggests otherwise. Getting it out only fuels the fire. We tell our children that, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it." We would do well to lead by example on this one!

6. Use time-out, for you!
Sometimes it is best to just say, "I'm taking a time out upstairs and I won't come down until I've calmed myself down and can act like a grown-up." Obviously, we cannot leave small children unattended, nor would we leave siblings who are fighting. But this strategy can help us get a bearing on things, shift perspectives, and respond with calmness in the right circumstances.

7. Get help
If you find yourself always angry, get help. Talk to a trusted friend. Chat with your GP. Speak with a counsellor.

Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired in the chaos of it all. Writer and blogger at

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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