Cool and Calm

Written by Christy Whitman October 13, 2011


Alex the FiremanMy son, Alex, has always loved fire trucks. He gets so excited when he sees one. I have even driven him to a fire station while we were on vacation in Arizona, because he got so excited when he saw one. I turned the car around and followed the truck back to the station. The fireman at the station gave him a fireman’s hat and he was so excited.

One day while watching Thomas the Train, we discovered another cartoon called Fireman Sam. He was immediately in love with this movie and requested to watch it over and over. A part of the theme song says, “When Sam hears that fire bell sound, he is cool and calm.”

Alex had a tendency to behave with a little drama. Our wonderful nanny, Francine (who we call Nana), would tell Alex when he started to behave with overreaction to any situation, “Alexander, be like Sam – cool and calm.” I watched several times how this actually calmed him down.

Our children come in with their own personalities. Some are easy personalities and some are more difficult. It is up to us as parents how we give our children the balance of having their personalities and also having the appropriate boundaries. Since birth, Alex was very expressive in his personality. It is so beautiful. But, he can then go to the extreme and be very dramatic which is inappropriate. Any trait when done to an extreme can become a weakness. It is up to us as parents to show the child what is appropriate or not.

Screaming and crying over little things is not appropriate. When we show Alex the boundaries and tell him to remain cool and calm it works. We tell him, “Alex, be cool and calm. Breathe.” At two years of age, he was able to take deep breaths in and learn how to center himself so that he does not get out of control with his emotions. He is able to express them, as he needs to do. But it is not overdone. It is done in a healthy and appropriate way.

Our son, Maxim, has a very curious personality. He will want to touch and explore everything. All children are curious to a point, but Maxim is so curious that if we did not give him boundaries it could hurt him. So we give him the boundaries and let him know what is appropriate. For example, he will go over and see something that Alex is playing with, and he will want to take it all apart. This is not fair to Alex, who is playing with his train tracks and who took the time to place them where he wanted them. Maxim would come over and pull them apart. We have to let Maxim know that Alex is playing with those and he has to respect his boundaries. Give Alex his space. Even at a year old he understands and will go take something else apart. Do we have to remind him? Of course. That is parenting. We are always repeating ourselves.

Find something to say to your child that he or she will connect with. With Alex we tell him, “Stay cool and calm like Sam.” That works for him. What shows does your child enjoy watching? What does he/she identify with? Is there a message that you can give him/her from that show?

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