Teaching a two year old how to control anger.

Seven months ago, I signed up for an online course called Prosperity Prescription. I’m a huge fan of Michelle Lowbridge, the woman who runs it, and fully believe in the power of Kinesiology. Each month has had a different theme, and this month’s theme is … (you guessed it) ANGER.

I’m certain that the work I’m doing with the group has stirred up all sorts of raw emotions — for myself, for The Husband, and for The Babe — as it is being cleared out and cleaned up.

After yesterday’s explosive night, I began to wonder if it was more than just a mere Toddler Thing. So I posted in the Facebook group for the program asking for tips on how to help The Babe manage these new feelings. The response I got was incredibly helpful, and full of encouragement around teaching her how to do deep breathing and meditation. 

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical about her ability to learn this sort of thing, as almost every ADULT I know struggles to do this. But I was willing to try just about anything to help ease this transition for her.

It didn’t take long for an opportunity to present itself, and this afternoon we had our very first lesson in deep breathing. We sat in her favorite chair after another episode and snuggled while she cried. I didn’t try to stop her or do anything other than take a few exaggerated deep breaths. As I became more centered from the breathing, so did she. 

So I started talking to her about what I was doing. Can you take a big breath in with Mama? Now let it out. Another big breath in? And blow it out. In. Out. In. Out. After about three cycles of talking it out, she started to do it along with me.

We sat there, snuggling and breathing, for a solid five minutes.

I could feel her breath slowing down and her body relaxing a little more with each round of breathing. When she was fully calm, I asked her what she was feeling earlier. I wanted to help her begin to put words to what she was experiencing. We went through happy, sad, angry, frustrated, and tired. After each one she gave me a yes or a no. We finally settled on sad and tired, and talked about how she was sad that her sitter had to leave for the day.

The whole thing lasted for maybe 10 minutes, from the start of her tantrum to the end where we were talking about why she felt the way she did.

It almost seemed too good to be true, like it had been a big fluke, until tonight at dinner when The Husband asked her about her day. I mentioned that The Babe had learned how to do deep breathing, and, without prompting, she began to breath in and out like we had practiced together. 

Color me impressed.

And grateful for the women in the group who pointed me in the right direction.

But most of all, color me excited that The Babe and I are both learning better ways to manage our emotions.


P.S. — This Sesame Street video featuring Colbie Caillat and Common is amazing and all about deep breathing. It’s currently been playing on repeat (again) because The Babe loves it and can’t stop talking about the monsters.

P.P.S. — This post from my friend Stacy on Playful Parenting is spot on. I’ll be ordering the book as soon as I hit publish.

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

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