Learning to regulate our emotional responses, especially during times of stress, can be difficult. Most children have some natural ways of self-regulating, but may also need to learn appropriate ways to respond when experiencing anxiety. Calming strategies can help a child to work through strong emotions. It is our job as parents to find ways to not only help them calm down when becoming upset, but to help them learn to calm down anywhere and in any given situation.
When your child is anxious or stressed, these calming activities and soothing techniques are great for helping them settle so they can move past any problem or upset, and can really help little ones relax and regain their sense of control. They are also great as quiet time activities.
Did you know that blowing bubbles can have a calming effect on children?
The exercise of blowing the bubble encourages children to practice deep breathing which has calming effects on the body. So next time your kids are having a bad day, are tired or irritable (they all have them). Instead of fighting a losing battle, get out the bubble mixture, get them blowing bubbles and have some fun. You’ll both feel better, more relaxed and able to face the day.
Calm Down Jar…
A Calm Down Jar is a meditation tool to use whenever a child feels stressed, overwhelmed or upset. Imagine the glitter as your thoughts. When you shake the jar, imagine your head full of whirling thoughts, then watch them slowly settle while you calm down. Calm Down Jars provide healthy and effective ways for little ones to help soothe themselves, calm down, take deep breaths, and work through their emotions.
This can provide a nice alternative to a traditional timeout, and it encourages the child to refocus without punishing them. Although the kids and I just like to shake it up and sit and watch the glitter swirl around and around.
Here are 6 Ways To Make a Calm Down Jar:
DIY Nebula Jar:
Lavender Play Dough
Play dough is one of those magical inventions that engages children for a good chunk of time. Play dough can be taken a step further and become not only an engaging activity for growing little minds, but also a calming one. By incorporating the calming aromas of lavender into your child’s play dough, you are providing several of your child’s senses the relaxing calming stimulation it needs to mellow out.
Calming Lavender Play Dough Recipe:
Try dimming the lights and reducing the amount of noise in the room.
Take a few deep breaths…
When people are feeling anxious or tense, they naturally tend to take rapid, shallow breaths. The simple act of breathing slowly and deeply can reduce feelings of stress. Have your child practice this move: Breathe in slowly through the nose…hold for a few seconds…and then slowly exhale through the mouth. Repeat several times.
Tense and relax…
Have your child form their hands into fists and bring their shoulders to their ears. Count to five with them and then relax. Repeat five times. Try using props such as “squishy stress balls” to help exaggerate the motion.
Listen with eye contact…
Children need to feel heard, especially when upset. Eye contact dramatically helps them feel that way. Allowing them to talk about how they are feeling will help make leaps and bounds toward calming down.
Take a mental vacation…
Help your child visualize a place they find relaxing. Have them close their eyes and picture somewhere they really likes to go, such as the beach. Ask them what sounds they typically hear there and what the place smells like. Then help them imagine the sounds of the waves crashing, the scent of the salt in the air, or whatever sensory details they described.
When people feel that they’re under pressure, they tense up physically. Squeezing a squeeze ball can help your child release that tension. So can squishing modeling clay or hugging a stuffed animal. These actions also encourage your child to focus on what their hands are doing, distracting them from whatever is causing anxiety.
Calm, quiet music, either sung or using a tape or CD can help soothe a child.
Meditation For Kids…
Think about all the stress you deal with throughout the day. Now think about the demands that are put on your child. Pretty comparable! But as mature adults we know how to (or at least how we should) deal with stress, but our children do not.
This is why it is so important for us to give our children the powerful practice of meditation. Mediation is such a powerful stress relieving tool. We can help our children understand its intentions and ability to help us adapt to the changing and stressful world around us, and they will be able to calm themselves when they are in a stressful situation.
Link to Mindfulness/Meditations For Children exercises to get you started:
5 Kid-Friendly Yoga Poses To Help Your Child Avoid A Meltdown:
5 Easy Breathing Techniques To Calm Your Kid (And Relax The Whole Family)
8 Ways Kids Can Calm Down Anywhere…
At Eden Prairie Montessori Learning Center, we’ve been carefully guiding children for over 20 years. To learn more about our child care center in Eden Prairie and programs, contact us at 952-777-3606. We look forward to meeting you!
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