7 Calm Dad Hacks: Master Stressful Moments With Patience

I have this VERY simple mind trick that I play on myself every time I’m about to lose it.

It’s not rocket science; it’s actually a tip I got from my wife (she’s way smarter than I am on this parenting thing!).

It’s super basic and simple, which is probably why it works on me.

I simply decide in my mind that I can keep up with it (whatever it is my kid does that annoys me) 5 times more.

5 times.

Just deciding on that, helps me self-regulate and keep calm.

For me, it can work on multiple things:

  • Bringing my kid food and water in bed
  • Printing more coloring pages
  • Getting interrupted while working

The list goes on!

I think it works because my mind goes:
“Just FIVE more times, I can do that!”.

It’s like there’s an end to the shenanigans. Now that I know it’s not continuing un-ended, it’s just easier for me to respond with love, patience, and compassion.

What Happens When We DO Lose Our Temper?

As much as we wish it never happens – we all lose it sometimes.

When this does happen, its important for us Dads to model emotional connection and how to say sorry.

And mean it. 

It could look something like this:

“Buddy, I’m sorry I lost my temper and yelled at you. I know that made you very sad…

  • Next time, I will let you know when it’s five minutes until you need to get ready for bed”
  • Next time, let’s work together to find a solution”
  • Next time, I will take deep breaths when I feel myself getting really angry”

This lets our kids know we make mistakes and that we can “make it right” when we have tough situations in relationships.

Other Good Ways To Keep Calm As Dads


Most of the time, kids don’t just do annoying or unkind things out of the blue. Usually, a series of events leads to the behaviors in question.

Observe what’s going on.

Simply being aware can help you remain patient.


Because you know your kid, you can probably predict pretty accurately how they will respond in different tense situations.

So, you, as the adult, can choose to shift tactics to avoid power struggles or meltdowns.

Shift Perspective

We need to change how we view their toddler and kid behavior.

I read this thought-provoking idea recently – we need see the “smallness” of children (Dr. Ashley Soderlund).

We can sometimes forget what it was like to be small. So we sometimes expect our kids to reason and behave like adults.

I’ve said it before – their minds are still under construction.

Reminding myself of this has helped me stay patient so many times because I have adjusted my expectations of what is reasonable for my small son.

Know Your Baseline Values

A compass helps people navigate unknown terrain. And a lot of parenting can feel like we are navigating an undiscovered land.

Imagine your parenting values as a compass that helps guide your decision-making, discipline methods, and communication style. Your parenting values will influence your behaviors and attitudes.

What parenting “cardinal points” will help direct and ground you in emotional or stressful times?

  • Empathy
  • Gratitude
  • Curiosity
  • Honesty
  • Keeping a calm, firm tone (aka no shouting)
  • Gentle physical interactions (aka no physical discipline)

Decide on these together with your partner.

And go back to them regularly to reorientate yourselves when you go off course.

You Are Not Alone

Even though millions of adults worldwide are parents, it often feels like we are the only ones going through kid challenges.

It’s helpful to remind yourself that loads of Dads are in the same struggle you are in right now.

When our son was a baby, a nurse encouraged us with this,

When you have gotten out of bed AGAIN in the middle of the night to feed your baby, to change a wet sheet or comfort a sick child – think of all the other parents awake at the same time, doing the same thing.

This helped us realize that were are tons of parents in our town, also awake at all hours of the night, all trying their best.

It helped us keep our cool in a lot of tense moments. It felt like we were on a team. 

Pro-Dad Tip: I totally recommend finding out if there is a local group on social media or in your neighborhood for dads or parents with young kids. Not only is it awesome socially, but these groups can be a great support network when you feel alone.

Keep Predictable Daily Rhythms

Daily rhythms don’t have to be rigid routines that actually end up giving us more anxiety.

Rather they are predictable patterns that help us and our kids organize our days.  This automatically helps eliminate a lot of potentially stressful situations.

For example: wake up, have breakfast, brush your teeth, and get dressed. The rhythm will always happen in this order, but it doesn’t have to be to a strict time schedule.

There are some great readymade tools out there to help us help our kids. There are loads of printable charts on Pinterest.

Recognize Your Warning Signs

So what can we do when we feel we have lost all patience?

Here’s an idea – when you feel your anger rising or your hands shaking because you are furious, try these:

  • Clench your fists tight, then inhale and open your fists slowly as you exhale. This helps you slow down and release some energy.
  • State your feelings: “Daddy is feeling very angry right now”
  • And then, take time out if necessary. “I need time to cool off; I’ll be right back”

This is part of what psychologists call conscious parenting – being mindful and aware of who we are.

By recognizing our warning signs and calmly taking action, we are modeling how to regulate our emotions to our kids.

Thanks for reading.

Get My Weekly Updates

If you’re not already getting my newsletter, you can do that here:

Scroll to Top