9 Ways to Prevent a Meltdown -- Your Kid's and Yours, Too

Soothing Solution: Go to Your Happy Place

Why it works for your kid: Children tend to focus on one thing at a time, so if you can nudge their one-track mind in a more pleasing direction, they'll forget why they were so upset. When 2-year-old Calvin Charles is on a crying jag, his mother, Jessie, of Brigham City, Utah, says, "Let's think about something that makes you happy. What makes you happy?" As Calvin wails, Jessie offers suggestions, like seeing a kitty, getting a hug from his baby brother, or eating marshmallows, until one of them makes him smile and he starts chatting about it.

Why it works for you: Mentally taking yourself someplace you love is like meditating -- it calms and centers you. When household tensions run high, Carri Perry, a mother of five from Gilbert, Arizona, shuts herself in the bathroom, closes her eyes, and thinks of the beach. "It's like a 10-minute vacation without the sunburn, and I emerge refreshed and ready to handle all of their issues." Even if you can't escape behind a closed door, simply take a deep breath and envision your favorite place (that cabin in the mountains, a field of flowers) for 30 seconds to relieve stress.

Originally published in the August 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.

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