What is the Grounding Technique?
For many parents (myself included) when we hear the phrase, “Try grounding with your kids when they start to act out.” we immediately think of sending them to their room and removing privileges.
On one hand, we are right – that is what is typically meant by grounding our kids.
However, I have super cool news to share:
Grounding doesn’t have to be a negative consequence or punishment. Grounding can actually be something that helps your child learn how to cope with intense feelings.
It helps to calm kids and bring them back to a place where they can make logical decisions. Grounding techniques are commonly used to help one manage overwhelming feelings.
As parents we have the honor of teaching this skill and we must be the facilitator to calmly engage our kids in this process. I can say from personal experience that this technique totally works! It helps to distract kids from what is bugging them and allows them to be much more willing to being the problem-solving process.
Here are a few examples of how to accomplish this:
Example one: 3,2,1 count down
“Whoa! I see a bird flying toward our house! Look! I see our refrigerator and dirt on the floor. Do you see those things? Can you tell me 3 things you see?”
“Now I can smell blueberries, can you? How about syrup? Can you smell syrup? Tell me 2 other things you smell”
“How cool, I can hear the garbage truck driving by. See if you can hear it. What can you hear?”
These statements are an example of the 3,2,1 count down technique were you walk your kids through naming 3 things, 2 things, and then 1 thing.
You can use this method with things that you hear, see, taste, smell, think about, would like to have…the possibilities are endless. This is a super effective tool because very quickly, it could turn into a game where you are both naming silly items. Very effective for diffusing a stressful situation!
Example two: The secret
Abruptly say, “Oh, I forgot to tell you something! Come here it’s a secret” You then proceed to say something silly or something helpful in bringing your child to a calm state. For my kids I have used the following statements before:
- “The grill is moving”
- “Are there ants in your pants?”
- Any tongue twister
- “You are the best and I have an idea…”
What I know
I know that this works! I’ve used it with my own kids. I’ve used it with kids I work with. Families have used it.
Being able to bring our kids back to a state of calmness through grounding is super powerful and useful. I encourage you to give it a try!
Founder of Behavior Corner, LLC