A girl hangs upside down from a jungle gym at a playground outdoors.

How upside-down time can stop tantrums from blowing up

Ever since our little guy was a toddler, I’ve had a way of calming him down that might sound a little unusual. In the midst of a bad mood or tantrum I would pick him up, flip him upside down, and say, “I think you need some upside down time!” Without fail this would stop the tantrum and usually resulted in a 180-degree mood change.

I have no idea what made me do this the first time, but today I read about how going upside down—doing headstands, handstands, or even hanging upside down—makes people feel happier!

Inversions, which get your feet above your head have healing and mood benefits… Being upside down increases blood flow to the brain.  More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. 

As we read this news, my son and I high-fived each other for doing this intuitively over the last six years.

Even now that he is almost seven, I sometimes flip him over when he gets grumpy (I won’t be able to for much longer). Sometimes I find him doing headstands on the couch and I suddenly realized that this could be his own instinctive way of de-stressing and giving himself “upside-down time.”

I’m happy that he’s taking gymnastics, where he’s learning to hang upside down and to do headstands and handstands, all of which add to his arsenal of ways to deal with stressful or anxious feelings without needing another person to actually flip him upside down.

It might not be such an easy strategy to use at school or, someday, at work, but maybe a headstand a day will help keep the blues away.

So if your young ones are prone to tantrums, or simply come down with a case of the grumpies now and then, “upside-down time” might be just the ticket to turning things around now, and laying the foundation for an effective habit to help in the future.

5 responses to “How upside-down time can stop tantrums from blowing up

  1. We’ve also come across this intuitively and decided to google to see if thre was any science behind it. Reassuring to find your article and realise my son isn’t so quirky after all!

  2. LOVE this article! This totally makes sense. As a yogi myself, I know this is how I often reset my mood :) I will have to try on my daughter now! Brilliant tip! :) Thanks.

    1. If one of my preschoolers needed to leave a center or move to Safe Place, and they weren’t too escalated, I’d give choices in order to increase compliance.
      Do you want to walk, or do you want me to carry you? Right side up, or upside down? An upside down walk is a great connection, AND it has this benefit? Nice!

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