calmer children

3 simple steps to calm your frustrated child

Photo by Harald Groven on Flikr

Photo by Harald Groven on Flikr

"Help me to do it myself"

is often used as a slogan in Montessori centres, because it's the plea of young children everywhere.

The child, through their actions, tells us over and over they want to do things for themselves and that they experience enormous frustration when they are restricted in their efforts. 

Where do we start to help our young children to do things themselves? It's not always practical is it?

So how can we minimise their frustrations and help them on their journey toward independence and help ourselves too?

Well let's get started:


Create a work-space specifically designed to meet the needs of your young child.

  • Ensure there is enough child-height open shelving and comfortable child-sized table and chairs.

Then we begin the process:

  • Clear out the clutter - be ruthless

  • Remove everything that's broken or incomplete

  • Evaluate what's left, too easy? too hard? Remove and store

  • Find trays/containers/baskets for each item on the shelf

  • Make sure each activity is complete and the tools (such as scissors) are efficient and the correct size for the child to use

Now you are ready to create some activities. I'll start by giving a few examples of activities that provide your child with the opportunity to develop, refine and enjoy the skills of everyday life. :

  • Make practise examples of the things your child is trying to master such as spooning, pouring (dry or liquid depending on age/ motor development), cutting a banana, putting on their shoes or brushing hair

  • Think carefully about the skills of the child and ensure the activities are within the child's capabilities.

  • To maximise the child's chance of success each new skill or activity is introduced by first showing the child how to do it (sit beside the child not opposite them) and where to replace it.

  • Store the new activity on a shelf easily accessible to the child so they can choose and use this activity at a time of their choosing and repeat it as often as they wish.

You can replicate this approach with almost any activity/toy.

Parents are you drowning in kids toys? Have a huge clear-out and feel the calm descend


Many parents of young children express frustration that their house is filled with toys yet the toys don't seem to satisfy their child for more than a moment.

There are many reasons for this:

  • the activities are designed for an older child and are too difficult or they are too easy and provide no challenge at all.

  • Parts are missing or many different toys are jumbled up together

  • The tools/materials required are not on hand or they are not effective

So how can you make better use of the toys you have so your child will be able to select an activity and work with it (on their own)?

Yes, this is possible!

  1. Sort through the toys you have, discard any which are incomplete or if the pieces are lovely use them to create an entirely new activity.

  2. Decide which activities are right for your child's stage of development and interests. Remove those which are too easy or too hard

  3. Shelving: safe, child-height - shelving is vital.

  4. A designated work space (perhaps defined by an attractive mat) which contains a child-sized table and chairs.

  5. Trays / containers/ baskets which contain all the pieces of an activity.

  6. Trays / containers which are practical for containing materials which may be used in different activities e.g. scissors, paper, pencils,crayons, glue etc.

  7. Arrange the activities attractively on the shelves, categorising them where possible.

  8. You don't need to put all toys (or books )out at once, rotate some from regularly.

If these changes sound like exactly what's needed at your place, but you haven't the time or feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, don't worry because help is available, this is one of the services offered by even better parenting.

Come along to my Seminar on the 24th October and learn in greater detail how you can do this yourself at home.

The transformation will make a huge, positive difference to you all.

Happier, calmer, more joyous children.

Parents are often frustrated because their children, who have so much, are still so discontent.

The children are discontent because very often they have everything except what they most need.

Children thrive on the reliability of consistency, without it they become fractious and discontent.

Physical order and reliable routines create the security which is necessary for the child's well-being.

A calm home nurtures the child as it meets the developing child's need for order and simple reliability.

Simplify your life and enjoy the results, your child certainly will.

Simple isn't always easy, if you would like a little assistance to make the transition contact Paulene Richardson here.