I am always surprised by the amount of children who cannot or don’t know how to deal with their anger in an effective way, who punch, shove, kick, throw, shout or cry when someone doesn’t do what they want.
I have found these strategies work (most of the time).
- Stay calm. As the teacher, you need to set an example. (Yes I know when a child is throwing a chair – thats the last thing you feel you should do, but if you loose your cool the tantrum will continue and many other children will get upset.) Don’t get cross or upset, talk in a soothing tone.
- If the problem escalates try to get the child out of the classroom. Give them a job to do or send them on a message.
- Teach relaxed breathing. I allow children to find a space, lie down and listen to some relaxing music. During this time, I talk quietly and the children concentrate on their breathing. (This can be done as an SPHE lesson in the hall or push back the tables in the classroom.) This strategy can be used by children when they feel angry or upset.
- Have a time out area. I don’t use this area as a punishment. Once I have thought children the strategies for recognising their anger. They can make a T sign when they are getting annoyed or upset and go to this area to calm down. I have stress balls, plain paper, coloured paper, doodle sheets, fidget toys etc. there that the child can use.
- Reward the child who recognises and deals with their anger. “Well done, you made the right choice.”
- This is a great display poster which show some of the strategies. When something is bugging me …