10 Simple Calm Down Strategies For Teens


Adolescence is a time of major development marked by significant changes.  One change that is often recognized during adolescence is an increase in emotionality.  Some teens can be negative, moody, and difficult to communicate with.  Furthermore, hormonal changes during this period of life can lead individuals to experience strong and sometimes unpredictable changes in affect.

Due to these changes in the emotional lives of adolescents, it becomes increasingly important to help your teenagers learn to appropriately cope with discomfort.  In today’s blog, I write about strategies that teenagers can employ to help themselves calm down when feeling upset.  Feeling upset can come from a variety of stressors (and teens have lots of them!).  Different individuals respond to stress in different ways.  The strategies listed here are intended to be starting points for you and your teenage son or daughter to consider.  It’s important to remember that what works well on one occasion may not be as effective the next time.  As teens continue to develop and mature, they acquire a better sense of how to take control of various emotional states.  As humans, while we can’t always change the way we feel, we can consider our typical responses to stress and engage in strategies that can help us cope with uncomfortable emotions.

10 calm-down strategies for teens:

  1. Talk it out- Unlike younger children who are still learning to use language effectively in a variety10 Calm Down Strategies for Teens of situations, teenagers have increased cognitive and language skills that help them think about their situations and explore potential solutions. If your teenager is upset, it may be helpful to give him/her the opportunity to talk it out.  This can include identifying the problem, discussing why it’s a problem, potential solutions, and other thoughts/feelings/reactions to the current situation.
  2. Draw – Drawing is a form of expression. Sometimes when individuals get very upset, talking (as suggested above) can be challenging.  Instead, it may help some teens to draw a picture of something they enjoy, or to express on paper how they are feeling at the moment.  Some research has suggested that coloring shapes (such as mandalas) can have calming effects on people.
  3. Write – Writing is yet another form of expression. Teenagers can write about whatever they’d like.  This can serve as a distraction as well as an outlet.  It may be helpful for some individuals to keep an ongoing journal or diary and write about their day to day experiences.
  4. Read – If you’re a reader, then you know that reading can be a soothing or calming activity. Some teens, on the other hand, may hate to read.  Remember, there are many things that one can read: books, magazines, comic books, graphic novels, books on tape, etc.
  5. Music – This is one of my personal favorites. The experience of music can touch the emotional side of many individuals.  Teenagers can chose to listen to a song that describes how they feel.  Or perhaps they can listen to calming, instrumental music while lying down.  Playing an instrument can serve as a great feel-better activity as well!
  6. Exercise – Regular exercise is good for us for many reasons, including mental health. This suggestion, however, speaks to exercising as a form of directing angry or upset energy.
  7. Focus on the positives– For example, make a list of things to be grateful for, or of kind acts you noticed today. During times of stress, our outlook is often clouded which makes it easy to only focus on the negatives.
  8. Change up the setting- Don’t get stuck in a rut. This suggestion is a follow-up from number 6.  It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of negative.  So, when needing to calm down, move to a different room, change the TV/music in the room, adjust the lighting, etc.
  9. Take a step back from the situation – Reflect on what is really making you mad. Often times our minds can become clouded with the many stressors of life.  It’s common for one to displace their anger/frustration on someone close to them.  (for example- A sixteen year old got in trouble at school and upon arriving at home “goes-off” on his younger brother for accidentally bumping into him.  This sixteen year old isn’t really upset at his brother, he’s upset at getting in trouble earlier in the day.)
  10. Say what you need (in a respectful yet assertive way) – Teenagers are continuing to build their self-advocacy skills. Advocating for one’s self includes speaking up when necessary and being able to appropriately request what one needs.

Lastly, parents reading this blog are urged to take a close look at your own calm-down strategies and habits.  Be sure to model how to stay in control of yourself even in the face of frustration or upset.  Do you have more ideas on ways for teenagers to calm themselves?  Please share below!

New Call-to-action

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!


The Therapeutic Benefits of Music

Music can be an important part of children’s therapeutic activities! While some children will participate in Music musicTherapy, conducted by a trained Music Therapist, other children will experience music in their speech-language or occupational therapy sessions. Some families will find that music therapy is not often covered by insurance; however, music in therapy may be. When music is incorporated into existing speech-language or occupational therapy sessions, there are numerous benefits for children.

Speech-Language Benefits of Including Music in Therapy:

  • Promotes attention and engagement: Music is a great motivator! Children may be more motivated during sessions and may pay better attention. They may also demonstrate improved engagement with their clinicians during therapy sessions involving music.
  • Builds imitation: Music can help to develop both verbal (e.g. singing) and non-verbal (e.g. gesturing) skills.  Phrases with musical intonation are easier to imitate.
  • Enhances Skills: Frequent repetition in songs can increase vocabulary (e.g. singing Old McDonald Had a Farm to target animal names) and language skills.
  • Encourages peer interactions: Learning age-appropriate songs can help build social skills and strengthen peer interactions.
  • Increases carryover: Children may begin to associate songs they are learning in school, at home, and in therapy in a positive way! Parents can carryover skills learned in therapy as a fun and easy way to maximize their child’s potential at home. Read more

Bubble Beats for the Whole Family | Guest Blog

Guest Blog By Victoria R. Golden of Bubbles Academy

One of the comments we hear most often at Bubbles Academy is, “We love the music!” Families hear a wide variety of live and recorded music in all of our classes: we use songs to teach baby sign, to encourage language development, and to inspire interaction and develop social connections between students and families. Our music also plays a key role in gross motor skill development in toddlers (bouncing and wiggling those hips!) and core development in babies.

How We Choose Our Music:

We begin building our playlists by brainstorming a list of genuinely enjoyable songs. We draw from our own musical tastes, popular music, and world music, but we also like to be playful! We often draw inspiration from our curriculum, which fuses developmentally-focused activities with interactive audio-visuals, to create well-rounded thematic musical selections.

Ms. Victoria’s Top 10 Spring Music Picks:

  • “Wavin’ Flag” by K’Naan: we danced with flags to this great tune in our Sports-themed Creative Movement classes.bubbles academy
  • “Baby” by Justin Bieber: this is one of our all-time favorite “baby dance” songs!
  • “Folding Chair” by Regina Spektor: a great spring and summer song, this one will have your child trying to imitate the dolphin sounds she makes.
  • “Waka Waka” by Shakira: this song will get your blood pumping as you dance to Shakira’s take on a traditional African song!
  • “Mixing Bowl” by Kira Willey: we’ve been using this one in our Food curriculum as a parachute song- a very calming tune that babies and adults love.
  • “Fitted Shirt” by Spoon: great song to inspire children to dress themselves in the morning!
  • “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell: combine your child’s love of all things on wheels with Joni’s classic take on environmentalism!
  • “Up Up Up” by The Givers: another song we use for parachute time, its tune is guaranteed to brighten your day.
  • “Jungle Drum” by Emiliana Torrini: bring out the drums, bongos or pots and pans to jam along and practice matching rhythms!
  • “Mushaboom” by Feist: a toe-tapping classic!

Tips for Finding More Music to Enjoy With Your Child:

  • On our Bubbles Academy blog, The Bub Hub, we post a new video every Monday in our “Music for Talls and Tinies” column. Start your week off right with some rockin’ tunes!
  • Children’s television is becoming a savvy source for music that parents and kids can both enjoy. Tune in to Yo Gabba Gabba or Sesame Street, which have recently hosted contemporary musical artists like The Shins and Feist.
  • Talk to your friends! Personal recommendations are a beautiful way to find new music and make connections with your friends, and everyone loves to share their opinions on “the best music”!

Singing and dancing together builds strong connections between parents and children, and the right music can help create lifelong memories for your little music lovers. What music do you remember from your childhood? It might be different from today’s tunes, but chances are, the fond memories remain the same.

About the Author:

Victoria R. Golden is the Assistant Program Director at Bubbles Academy. She teaches Music, Art & Music, Bubble Step (Gentle Separation) and Bubble Bees (Independent Learning) classes. A self-taught guitarist, she has also studied music at American University in Washington, DC and at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. She hopes to see you soon at Bubbles!

Love What You Read?  Click Here To Subscribe To Our Blogs Via Email!