Calm and Compassionate Children - A Handbook

Calm and Compassionate Children by Susan Usha Dermond is the book that started it all for me.  I encourage every parent and educator I know to read this title.  You can find out more about Susan at  Below are tips from her website for promoting calm and compassionate children.

Six Tips
from Calm and Compassionate Children

Celebrations, Routines, and Rituals

Buy a calendar that shows the phases of the moon. Each night as part of your bedtime ritual, put a sticker on the day and count how many days remain until the full moon. Make a ritual for each full moon. This could be going for an evening walk together to admire the moon when it's visible. If it's cloudy or rainy, you can light candles at home and read a book like Jane Yolen's Owl Moon or The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons. On earlier nights in the cycle, read Wait Till the Moon Is Full by Margaret Wise Brown. 


When you put your child to bed, lie down beside her and ask her to share the best or most inspiring moment of her day. Then share yours. Or you begin and then let her tell you hers. Make this a daily practice, and you will see great change in your contentment and the intimacy of your relationship.

Nature Awakens Feeling

When you are hiking, ask a child to find something, for example, four objects of different shapes, three different-colored leaves, a rock with a stripe on it. Providing a task so specific gets the child focused quickly. After she has accomplished the goal, she will probably become observant and calm enough to enjoy just being outside exploring.

Movement, Breath, and Touch

In the summer, fill a spray bottle with filtered water and a few drops of essential oil. Lavender is calming, rosemary purifying. When your child becomes hot and whiny, offer a few sprays on the face and neck (and spray yourself when you feel frustrated). Keep the bottle in the refrigerator and take it with you when you run errands. It will do a lot to keep your child cheerful when getting into a hot car.

Concentrate to Calmness

Help your child settle down by asking questions requiring a sequence of answers. For example: What are the names of your aunts and uncles from oldest to youngest? Or, tell me three different things you used a pencil for in school today, from the end of the day going backward. Or, can you name all the teachers on your hall at school, beginning from the side door and going toward the center of the building?

Personal Power

 When your son or daughter complains that another child has treated him unfairly or does not want to play, focus on your child’s power to choose to be happy anyway. Never ignore evidence that your child is being bullied, but realize that if you intervene in every little childhood rejection, you are teaching your child that being liked is more important than being in charge of one’s own moods.