How to Raise Peaceful Children

Peace is not something that comes naturally to human beings.

This is just the nature of the way our minds work. We are made to worry and be anxious — all ways to cope and protect ourselves from pain and hurt. But peace is something we can all strive for. I strive for it every day.

Peace doesn’t always come to me, because I am not always open to it. Some days, I like the drama and anxiety of life’s curve balls. I am willing to admit that. Most of the time, however, I am very much at peace with life and its joys and sorrows.

But that is not the case when my child isn’t at peace. In fact, that’s a very different story.

Luckily, I’ve done a lot of research on this topic and I’ve already experimented with many of these ideas I am about to share. These tools to raise peaceful children will work but they will not work overnight. And, of course, you cannot raise peaceful children if you, yourself, are not at peace with yourself and your imperfections.

Ouch. I know.

Here we go … How to Raise Peaceful Children.

MODEL PEACE: Perhaps the most amazing tool of them all is showing children that there is another way. I recently had my own eyes opened to how my passion and control-freak ways were rubbing off on one of my daughters, the very one who has those same tendencies. Same thing happened with my other daughter when she started worrying at a very unhealthy level. I had been demonstrating two very natural but very hurtful personality traits — being controlling about little things other people do {sit down, don’t talk with your mouth full, stop yelling … sound familiar?} and worrying about them getting hurt {Be careful, you’ll fall down, you might hurt yourself, what if, but … } Sure, this is parenting but there are peaceful ways to let children know how to behave properly and to be cautious — without going over he top. I had to rework my words and my timing.

LEARN ABOUT PEACE: Children don’t come out of the womb using peaceful words. If you’ve seen the documentary “Babies,” then you may recall the opening scene of two African babies — the same age and look like twins — getting into a squabble over a rock. That scene made me cry with laughter as I was so familiar with it. We have to teach children how to handle their disputes peacefully, kindly, gently. For some it comes naturally. For others, it definitely does not. Teach your child peace words and use them often. We recently spent a whole evening talking about peace words. My girls already knew all of them but it was a great project. {More on that on Friday!}

BUILD A PEACE CORNER: We’ve had peace corners in our house since the girls were 3 after I read this great blog post about them. They are great. When they were very young, they each had their own. We now have one peace corner for all to use and we’ve surrounded it with some amazing, peaceful tools. Peace corners need to be away from the rest of the family, quiet and cozy to work. A simple hard chair in a corner is NOT a peace corner. Sorry. And, for some kids, going to any place away from the family is just not going to fly. Let them choose it when they are ready. If I’ve learned anything it’s that there is no way to force a child to be peaceful. It has to come from within.

OFFER PEACEFUL TOOLS: There are a bunch of great tools to use to help a child calm down. These may or may not work for your child, but the best way to promote peace is to just keep talking about peace and love and kindness. We have tried many of these tools: Meditation Jar, worry beads, angry/feelings art, calm down basket.

GIVE THEM SPACE: Truly, the best tool is to ignore their behavior, show lots of love and NOT GET INTO A YELLING BATTLE. The times I refuse to have the last word are the times the anger is diffused more quickly. For my emotional daughter, this also is a good time to find bunch of paper and art supplies to create something or draw out her frustration. She zones out with her materials, and I don’t hear from her for a half hour or so and then she’s fine. She also really loves to just go outside by herself. I am proud that she has figured out that these two things are what give her peace.

How about you? Have you mastered any keep-the-peace methods or tools? What helps bring your children peace? Do you have a peace corner? If you have any of these and want to share photos, please join the newly created Awesomely Awake Flickr Group!! I’d love to see how you are taking these intentions into your life and making them a reality!

Peace to you.

33 Responses to How to Raise Peaceful Children

  1. Wow, this is an awesome idea! My two have been arguing a lot lately and I think the peace corner, meditation jar and calm down baskets could be the new solution for us! I certainly want my kids to understand their emotions/feelings and how to work through these. I just heart your blog and am so happy I discovered it! I will definitely use your words of encouragement when the new baby comes and our home is taken to a new level of happy chaos! :) your girls are beautiful too! Brooke

    • Thanks! I love the name of your blog and I can’t wait to check it out. I do think the calm down basket is a great tool — let the kids choose some of what should be in it, too! xo

  2. Found this post on Pinterest… love your suggestions and I’m going to review them closely and try to implement.

    I struggle with anxiety and I’m constantly trying to create a more peaceful environment.

    • It is so hard, isn’t it? I didn’t realize how anxious I was until recently when I saw my youngest twin literally not eating, not sleeping due to her worries. I love our peace corner and find myself just wanting to sit there. The girls could shake that jar all day. I just added the shell jar as well and they love searching for the shells so I think you could make an I Spy bottle to add in there as well.

      Parenting is so eye opening. I’m learning to be more relaxed in many, many ways. Thanks for sharing – and for visiting!! I love your site. xo

  3. I needed this today, I am a total control freak. My stress levels are high with 2 small kids and our house for sale and a move in less than 2 months. I have had a few moments when my son is yelling “Right now!” and I have to step back a realize he learned it from me. We will be making a peace corner in our new house. Thanks for the idea.

    • Selling a house with little kids is seriously one of the more stressful times. I can definitely relate. Can you buy a small ottoman and tuck inside a bunch of peace tools so that they are hidden but easily accessible?? I would try it! Hugs to you. You are doing everything wonderfully … it’s never too late, never too late to say sorry, I was wrong. Never too late to take a step back and just breathe. xoxo

    • Rebekah — Deep appreciation to you for sharing this post. I am, as always, honored to see the outpour of emotions that honest posts like this one bring out in people. We defintely have to teach our children how to cope with life’s let downs — and we have to learn right beside them!

  4. We’re pretty new to parenting – our son Max is only 10 months old, but people keep telling us he is an extraordinarily happy and well behaved baby, so maybe we’re on to something, I guess it’s too early to tell :)
    Anyway, this is what we do …
    1. When he’s grumpy we make him laugh – we tickle his toes, we blow a raspberry on his belly, we pull silly faces. If he pulls another grumpy face we do it all over again. Lots of smiles and lots of laughter.
    2. We always try to treat him how we would expect him to treat other people when he’s old enough. If we shout at him we’re probably teaching him that it’s an acceptable way to behave and it’s not, so we try to speak calmly. It’s not always easy.
    3. We sometimes ignore him when he’s misbehaving, but we make sure we pay him lots of attention when he’s been behaving well. We want to reward him for the right kind of behaviour.
    4. We try not to overuse the word ‘no’. If it’s said ad-nauseum then it seems to lose its ‘kick’, instead we may use something like ‘ack’ while at the same time trying to get ourselves in to the habit of explaining our actions – eg if he’s licking a shoe then we say “Ack – dirty shoe” – I always remember feeling aggrieved when I was told off and couldn’t really understand what I had done wrong. A stern ‘no’ is reserved for when he goes near the fire or something.
    5. We dance and sing to feel good music all the time, but not saccharine baby songs. Instead we choose anything that lifts our own spirits – The Beach Boys, Bob Marley etc.
    6. We suppress the control freaks in ourselves. We are both natural worriers and knew we had to take a big step out of our comfort zones in order to change our behaviour else we would just pass on our worst traits. This is how we came to be traveling around Thailand with Max. Our theory is that the best way to raise a peaceful child is to find more peace ourselves and lead by example.

    • All good stuff, Neil. Thanks for sharing your ideas. We have done all of the these things as well. Yes, 10 months is a bit early. ; ) When he’s a bit older and NONE of these song and dances work … you will see that he’ll need to learn to make himself happy and at peace and not rely so heavily on us — hence this post. Thanks for visiting!!

  5. Love the idea of a peace corner. My daughter has a hard time calming down when she is upset. I have her go to her room, not as a punishment, but as a way to relax a bit. Maybe a peace corner would be a good idea for her.

    Your blog is so wonderful. I get lots of fun, crafty ideas on other mom blogs. I get really meaningful ideas here. Thanks so much!

    • Thanks, Danielle! I was just noticing your great pinterest pin on family ties!! That’s the kind of pins that will fly. Thanks for your nice comments. I guess I”m a pretty deep person. My poor kids!!! LOL

  6. Oh my goodness, this topic is such an important one. Thank you for inspiring me to move forward with these ideas in our home! :-) -Marnie from Carrots Are Orange

  7. I work in a mental hospital, and one trend that’s growing is “sensory rooms” or “comfort rooms”, which strike me as very similar to your peace corner. For people who have trouble dealing with their own emotions and inner experiences, it can help to have a place to go with colored lights, a rocking chair, a lavender pillow to smell, a white noise machine, weighted vests or blankets, candies or gum, hand fidgets, and other ways to use the senses. It hadn’t occurred to me to use the same idea in a family setting, but it totally makes sense.

  8. What a great idea – we have thinking spaces where my children go to when they need some peace – my youngest is only a year and her space is on my lap but my son 2 and a half will disappear off to do some drawings or delve into the junk modeling resource box and build in peace away from his sister and me.

    Thank you for sharing with Kid’s Co-op this week

    • That is a beautiful peace corner!! Love it! Thx for sharing. I will share this with my readers on Facebook. Glad to see you take a positive parenting step!

  9. this is an awesome tool to teach to children and adults as well. it has taken me years to realize this was what I was missing in my life. I knew I wanted that calmness but didn't always know how to get it. I never taught my children this and know that it could have prevented a lot of frustration and problems in out life. how lucky we are to be more aware of and to have the technology to learn and share these very important tools to help us live a better life. it lets us have another way to dealing with issues that arise in our lives. thanks to those who realize the importance of these life tools and get them out to people. keep up the good work!

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