Help your kid reset after a bad day with these 5 simple phrases, quotes, and tools rooted in family bonding and support. We all have bad days, but we can teach our children how to regulate their emotions when they are in a bad mood with these tips.
The front door slammed. The backpack was launched across the room.
My son fell face first onto the couch like he was a giant tree chopped down at the base.
A fish could have picked up on the queues that he had a bad day.
I approached with caution. I asked, my voice apprehensive and unsure, “Are you okay?”
To which he replied with a loud grunt and then buried his face deeper into the pillow.
Since my three young children were rapidly approaching their pre-teenage years, I decided that I needed to learn how to guide them through emotionally difficult days.
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Regulating Emotions After a Bad Day
When your kid has a bad day, it can hit hard and last a long time. That is often because kids don’t naturally have the skills to reset and move on.
Emotional regulation is not a skill we are born with.
Experts, like Lindsey Giller, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, explain that the emotional side of the brain isn’t communicating with the rational side at a young age. The fancy name for it called “dysregulation”.
Luckily, there are simple things parents can do to help children recover from a tough day.
Since “Are you Okay?” clearly wasn’t working, I did some research to find the best phrases that parents can use to help kids reset.
Must also Read: How to Help Kids Grow During Difficult Times and How to Teach Kids Emotional Regulation Skills
5 Phrases to Help Your Kid Reset After a Bad Day
Next time your child is having a difficult time, try saying one or more of these positive parenting phrases to help them recenter and calm down.
Also read: How to be Your Kid’s Emotion Coach
1) “Let’s start over”
We don’t have bad days.
We have bad moments that we can either allow to consume us or move on from.
When you say to your child “let’s start over”, you are basically saying that we all make mistakes or get stuck in difficult/unfortunate circumstances, but it can all be turned around with a pinch of positive vibes.
“Let’s start over” refers to hitting a reset button, letting go of what happened earlier, and trying to make the most of the rest of the day.
As an adult, I have adapted this mindset to help me with tough days, too!
2) “Unload your emotions on me”
Experts say that venting your frustrations alleviates tension and stress. You instantly feel better after sharing your pent-up feelings and negative experiences.
Encourage your child to tell you everything, and explain that holding it in might only make them feel worse.
Promise them that what they say in a ‘venting session’ will not be held against them (within reason of course) or be judged.
Validate their feelings, emphasize with them, and avoid criticism at all costs.
It may sounds something as simple as “I see you are really upset. I would feel that way too.”
3) “What is your favorite song, let’s listen to it together”
Music can both help you distract your child from negative feelings, and it also can lift the mood naturally.
A study conducted in 2013 reported that people who listened to upbeat music improved their moods and happiness. It found that listening to 12 minutes of music associated with positive mood intentionally elevated mood compared to a group who listened to any music without focusing on improving their mood.
This is an especially helpful tip when dealing with kids who are resistant to talk about what is bothering them.
4) “Let’s get moving”
Physical activity is another way to help your kid reset after a bad day. It is both good for the body and the mind.
Even small amounts of activity can lift your child’s mood.
Some ideas can include:
- Taking a walk outside
- Throwing a ball
- Doing yoga or stretching
Additionally, research suggests engaging in regular exercise and physical activity has can reduce the risk of developing depression in children and adults.
If you can’t get moving, try another distracting activity, such as coloring, deep breathing, or playing a boardgame.
Follow these tips to bond with your kid in under 10 minutes a day.
5) “Everyone has bad days”
Remind your child that every one has bad days from time to time, and they have the power to work through it.
What better way to open your kid’s eyes to the world around them than by listening to the words of the brilliant people who came before them.
Share these 10 quotes about bad days with your kid:
- “It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.” – Mary Engelbreit
- “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” – Maya Angelou
- “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”- Marcus Aurelius
- “Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” -Robert H. Schuller
- “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
- “The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.” – Mark Twain
- “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr
- “The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.” – Stephen Richards
- “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” – Buddha
- “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller
Related: Kids who Give up Easily needs parents to teach them this lesson
Final Thought on How to Help Your Kid Reset After a Bad Day
Sometimes, when things aren’t going out way, we begin to spiral into a mindset of doom and gloom.
These 5 simple phrases can help parents break through the negative vibes and teach their children how to cheer themselves up.
If these tips could peel my son off the couch and rip him from his “poor me mindset“, then I am confident it will help your kid reset, too.
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