This is a strange time for all us, children and parents alike. Kids are home while parents are trying to continue working remotely. 

All of our routines are different and those changes can be stressful.     

How do I keep my calm in the chaos?  How do I regain my calm after I have lost my temper?  How do I help my child after one or both of us lose our cool?  We need strategies to calm down. The Strategy Wheel is something we can look at when we feel the anger coming.  When we use our wheel as a parent, we are modeling self-care to our children.   

Humans have a very difficult time learning new information if we are stressed, embarrassed, or angry.   We also are not creative. One thing we can do as humans is plan ahead. We KNOW we will get frustrated with our children in the next few weeks, right? It is a safe bet they will get frustrated with us too!  So, before that happens, come up with solutions of what each of you can do to find your calm again.   

There are some tried and true solutions that can help your family..  Even children as young as three know what helps them feel better, and can come up with their own strategies.   

Creating the strategy wheel:

  • Brainstorm as many solutions as you can: each person in the home can make their own list of things that help them feel better (actions on your list that can be done quickly like drinking a glass of cold water, and some that might take more time, like going for a hike or a run).   
  • Nothing is too silly or ineffective as long as it’s safe!
  • Each person picks their top 6-10 favorite strategies.   
  • Print (see the printable or draw a circle) that is as large as the paper. (Plates make great stencils!) 
  • Divide the circle into the number of solutions (6, 8, 10 pieces)
  • Either a child or adult writes one solution per section.   
  • The child (adult only if it is a very young child)  illustrates each section. (The child still picks the strategies they like the best) 


When you start to notice yourself getting frustrated (before you yell) say “I’m getting a bit frustrated, I am going to look at my wheel to see how to reset.”  Then Do It. You will both calm your brain and body, as well as model to your child what to do when they start to get frustrated. So keep it in plain sight for every member of the family!


Here are a few ideas to get you started.  Feel free to add your own. I find having both the list and the wheel helpful.   

Square breathing/ Lion’s Breath Dance Party
March in place for 30 seconds Walk in nature
Blow bubbles Look out the window
Calm Down Jar Chewing gum
Wash my face Hug each other for twenty seconds or longer
Drink some water Laugh out loud until you are really laughing
Run around the block Stretch


One last thing:

What to avoid…when your child is in the middle of a tantrum…  

    • Teach lessons… (No one can learn when emotional)
    • Time out (Children are not capable of self-reflection until almost 6)  
    • Whine back (Only teaches children to whine… and that it is acceptable.)
    • Brush it off or distract. (It is disrespectful… No one feels better when their feelings are minimized)

What to do when your child is having a tantrum

    • Go get a drink of water. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!   
    • Wait to have a conversation until the storm has passed.  
    • Breathe! When a parent takes slow deep breaths and calms their heart and body, the child’s body begins to calm too. 
    • When the storm is calming, offer to help your child find a strategy on the wheel that may help them continue to feel better.