Early Childhood Ed

How to Comfort a Crying Child



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There are many different tactics a teacher can use to comfort a crying child.  Which method will be successful depends on many different factors.  The age and personality of the child are important considerations.  The motive for the crying should also help the teacher determine what technique might help the child stop crying.

The most common reason for young children to cry in a school setting is separation anxiety.  The child misses his/her parents and does not know how to deal with those feelings.  The best way to comfort a child in this situation is to get down at their eye level and talk to them in a slow, calm voice.  Reassure them that mom or dad always come back to pick them up.  In a preschool setting, lead the child to a favorite activity or toy and try to engage them in play.  Encourage them to put their tears away so they can have fun at school.  With a kindergarten or primary aged child the teacher needs to take a firmer approach.  After speaking to them in a calm voice and reassuring them, the teacher needs to encourage the child get a tissue then join their classmates in getting on with the routines of the day. 

If a child is crying because of the actions of a peer, the teacher should act as a mediator.  The crying child should know that the teacher respects their feelings and wants to help them.  The teacher also needs to stress to the child that when they calm down it is much easier to talk and discuss what happened so they can solve the problem together.  

Sometimes if a child is in a rage and out of control while crying, the best solution is ignore the behavior, making sure they are not in a position to hurt others or themselves, until they regain some control.  Then calm, soothing talking will work with most children. 

Some children respond to touch when upset or crying.  Holding their hand or a hug may offer comfort to them.  Other children do not respond to being touch.  Learning the personality of each student will help a teacher make decisions about how to comfort an individual child.

At times children cry because they have something going on in their life that is sad.  It could be the illness of a family member, the death of a pet or a divorce.  In these situations the best way to deal with crying is empathy and/or sympathy.  The teacher can let the child know that is normal to be sad when bad things happen.  Just knowing that somebody cares can comfort a child.

 A teacher that gets to know each of their students as a unique individual will discover the best way to comfort the crying child.

More about this author: Linda Haver

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