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5 Calming Strategies for Kids (that Really WORK)

5 Calming Strategies for Kids (that Really WORK)
February 29, 2020 Stephanie Esser
Below are a few tried and true calming activities for kids. These strategies only take a few minutes but can make a big difference in your child’s day.

Give more than one a try – you never know which will be the perfect fit for your child!

1. Balloon Breathing

Our breath is one of the most powerful tools we have to calm down. Deep belly breathing gives fresh oxygen to a child’s brain and body and also activates their parasympathetic nervous system (the calming system).

Try this calming activity that uses breathwork:

  • Have kids sit up nice and tall (on the floor or in a chair).
  • Tell them to close their eyes and pretend their stomach is a balloon – any color they want to choose.
  • Tell them to breathe in nice and deep, pretending to fill up that balloon.
  • Then have them exhale, visualizing all the air slowly leaving the balloon until it’s empty.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Read more about belly breathing for relaxation here.

2. Pinwheel Breathing

Try this calming activity that uses breathwork:

  • Give each child a pinwheel (or any object that will be affected by their breath).
  • First, inhale slowly through the nose.
  • Holding the pinwheel a few inches from the face, slowly exhale through the mouth.
  • Ask children to direct the exhale to the pinwheel and see how long they can keep it going with just one exhale (this helps them focus on lengthening the exhale, which is calming to the nervous system).
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

3. Have a Mindful Snack

Snack time is a good time to shift focus. Use this time to add in a calming activity for kids:

  • Have them take one snack item (a cracker or a grape for example).
  • First, have them closely examine how it looks and feels – what shape is it, and is it smooth or rough to the touch?
  • Next, they can smell their snack and observe its aroma.
  • Then, slowly put one bite of their snack into their mouths.
  • Chew the snack slowly, tasting each bit of it. Observe the texture. Is it juicy and sweet? Or crunchy and salty?
  • Finally, swallow that bite.

4. Calming Mini-Yoga Session

Try these yoga poses to help kids reconnect with their bodies and their breath. These are especially helpful when kids are overstimulated after playing.

  • Mountain Pose (ground and center)
  • Forward Bend (calm and focus)
  • Cobra Pose (open up the lungs, reduce stress)
  • Child’s Pose (relax the hips and back)
  • Lotus Pose (concentration and relaxation)

Remember:

  • Remind children to breathe while they do the poses.
  • Hold each pose for 2-3 breath cycles.

5. Mindful Textures

This calming activity helps kids use their sense of touch to practice mindfulness.

  • Have children sit on the floor with a toy or object of their choosing.
  • Let children feel the object with their fingers.
  • Ask them to describe what it feels like. Smooth? Cool? Rough? Bumpy? Does it have more than one texture?
  • For comparison, have children touch their shoes, their shirt, or the floor and describe how those feel.
  • If desired, have children trade objects with their neighbor and compare the differences in how they feel.

Tips for Using These Calm Down Strategies

  • Keep it fun. Make sure any calming activity you do is approached with curiosity and fun. Kids will resist if they get the feeling an activity is a chore or if it’s taken too seriously.
  • Find what works for each child. Every kid is different and what works for every child will look a little different. Let your child choose which strategies work best for them and they’ll be much more likely to make it a habit.
  • Make a daily ritual. Quick and easy activities are easier to turn into daily habits. And eventually, daily routines become automatic habits that empower our kids to self-soothe when they’re stressed, anxious, or overstimulated.

How to Learn More Techniques to Help Kids

Sign up to join our community and receive monthly newsletters packed with actionable ideas and tips to help your child be calm, confident, and connected.

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie Esser

PS: If you are looking for more resources to help your child build resiliency skills and habits, download the FREE Resiliency Guide for kids today!  This printable 32-page guide is a great resource to help your child develop wellness from the inside out!

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In any case, it’s important that we have a few calming activities up our sleeves to help kids cope.

We aren’t born with the skills we need to calm our minds and soothe our emotions. But it’s actually very easy to learn these skills and to teach calming strategies to kids.

A good calming activity will help regulate a child’s response to stress – it doesn’t matter whether the stress is physical, mental, or emotional in nature. Calming strategies Calming strategies target the child’s nervous system to bring it into balance.

Below are a few tried and true calming activities for kids. These strategies only take a few minutes but can make a big difference in your child’s day.

Give more than one a try – you never know which will be the perfect fit for your child!

1. Balloon Breathing

Our breath is one of the most powerful tools we have to calm down. Deep belly breathing gives fresh oxygen to a child’s brain and body and also activates their parasympathetic nervous system (the calming system).

Try this calming activity that uses breathwork:

  • Have kids sit up nice and tall (on the floor or in a chair).
  • Tell them to close their eyes and pretend their stomach is a balloon – any color they want to choose.
  • Tell them to breathe in nice and deep, pretending to fill up that balloon.
  • Then have them exhale, visualizing all the air slowly leaving the balloon until it’s empty.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Read more about belly breathing for relaxation here.

2. Pinwheel Breathing

Try this calming activity that uses breathwork:

  • Give each child a pinwheel (or any object that will be affected by their breath).
  • First, inhale slowly through the nose.
  • Holding the pinwheel a few inches from the face, slowly exhale through the mouth.
  • Ask children to direct the exhale to the pinwheel and see how long they can keep it going with just one exhale (this helps them focus on lengthening the exhale, which is calming to the nervous system).
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

3. Have a Mindful Snack

Snack time is a good time to shift focus. Use this time to add in a calming activity for kids:

  • Have them take one snack item (a cracker or a grape for example).
  • First, have them closely examine how it looks and feels – what shape is it, and is it smooth or rough to the touch?
  • Next, they can smell their snack and observe its aroma.
  • Then, slowly put one bite of their snack into their mouths.
  • Chew the snack slowly, tasting each bit of it. Observe the texture. Is it juicy and sweet? Or crunchy and salty?
  • Finally, swallow that bite.

4. Calming Mini-Yoga Session

Try these yoga poses to help kids reconnect with their bodies and their breath. These are especially helpful when kids are overstimulated after playing.

  • Mountain Pose (ground and center)
  • Forward Bend (calm and focus)
  • Cobra Pose (open up the lungs, reduce stress)
  • Child’s Pose (relax the hips and back)
  • Lotus Pose (concentration and relaxation)

Remember:

  • Remind children to breathe while they do the poses.
  • Hold each pose for 2-3 breath cycles.

5. Mindful Textures

This calming activity helps kids use their sense of touch to practice mindfulness.

  • Have children sit on the floor with a toy or object of their choosing.
  • Let children feel the object with their fingers.
  • Ask them to describe what it feels like. Smooth? Cool? Rough? Bumpy? Does it have more than one texture?
  • For comparison, have children touch their shoes, their shirt, or the floor and describe how those feel.
  • If desired, have children trade objects with their neighbor and compare the differences in how they feel.

Tips for Using These Calm Down Strategies

  • Keep it fun. Make sure any calming activity you do is approached with curiosity and fun. Kids will resist if they get the feeling an activity is a chore or if it’s taken too seriously.
  • Find what works for each child. Every kid is different and what works for every child will look a little different. Let your child choose which strategies work best for them and they’ll be much more likely to make it a habit.
  • Make a daily ritual. Quick and easy activities are easier to turn into daily habits. And eventually, daily routines become automatic habits that empower our kids to self-soothe when they’re stressed, anxious, or overstimulated.

How to Learn More Techniques to Help Kids

Sign up to join our community and receive monthly newsletters packed with actionable ideas and tips to help your child be calm, confident, and connected.

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie Esser

PS: If you are looking for more resources to help your child build resiliency skills and habits, download the FREE Resiliency Guide for kids today!  This printable 32-page guide is a great resource to help your child develop wellness from the inside out!

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5 Calming Strategies for Kids (that Really WORK)

 

Whether you’re a teacher, a parent, a caregiver, or anyone who spends time with kids on a regular basis, you know how tough it can be to help kids calm down. They may be full of energy fresh off the playground, overstimulated from a party, or overwhelmed with intense emotions.

In any case, it’s important that we have a few calming activities up our sleeves to help kids cope.

We aren’t born with the skills we need to calm our minds and soothe our emotions. But it’s actually very easy to learn these skills and to teach calming strategies to kids.

A good calming activity will help regulate a child’s response to stress – it doesn’t matter whether the stress is physical, mental, or emotional in nature. Calming strategies Calming strategies target the child’s nervous system to bring it into balance.

Below are a few tried and true calming activities for kids. These strategies only take a few minutes but can make a big difference in your child’s day.

Give more than one a try – you never know which will be the perfect fit for your child!

1. Balloon Breathing

Our breath is one of the most powerful tools we have to calm down. Deep belly breathing gives fresh oxygen to a child’s brain and body and also activates their parasympathetic nervous system (the calming system).

Try this calming activity that uses breathwork:

  • Have kids sit up nice and tall (on the floor or in a chair).
  • Tell them to close their eyes and pretend their stomach is a balloon – any color they want to choose.
  • Tell them to breathe in nice and deep, pretending to fill up that balloon.
  • Then have them exhale, visualizing all the air slowly leaving the balloon until it’s empty.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Read more about belly breathing for relaxation here.

2. Pinwheel Breathing

Try this calming activity that uses breathwork:

  • Give each child a pinwheel (or any object that will be affected by their breath).
  • First, inhale slowly through the nose.
  • Holding the pinwheel a few inches from the face, slowly exhale through the mouth.
  • Ask children to direct the exhale to the pinwheel and see how long they can keep it going with just one exhale (this helps them focus on lengthening the exhale, which is calming to the nervous system).
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

3. Have a Mindful Snack

Snack time is a good time to shift focus. Use this time to add in a calming activity for kids:

  • Have them take one snack item (a cracker or a grape for example).
  • First, have them closely examine how it looks and feels – what shape is it, and is it smooth or rough to the touch?
  • Next, they can smell their snack and observe its aroma.
  • Then, slowly put one bite of their snack into their mouths.
  • Chew the snack slowly, tasting each bit of it. Observe the texture. Is it juicy and sweet? Or crunchy and salty?
  • Finally, swallow that bite.

4. Calming Mini-Yoga Session

Try these yoga poses to help kids reconnect with their bodies and their breath. These are especially helpful when kids are overstimulated after playing.

  • Mountain Pose (ground and center)
  • Forward Bend (calm and focus)
  • Cobra Pose (open up the lungs, reduce stress)
  • Child’s Pose (relax the hips and back)
  • Lotus Pose (concentration and relaxation)

Remember:

  • Remind children to breathe while they do the poses.
  • Hold each pose for 2-3 breath cycles.

5. Mindful Textures

This calming activity helps kids use their sense of touch to practice mindfulness.

  • Have children sit on the floor with a toy or object of their choosing.
  • Let children feel the object with their fingers.
  • Ask them to describe what it feels like. Smooth? Cool? Rough? Bumpy? Does it have more than one texture?
  • For comparison, have children touch their shoes, their shirt, or the floor and describe how those feel.
  • If desired, have children trade objects with their neighbor and compare the differences in how they feel.

Tips for Using These Calm Down Strategies

  • Keep it fun. Make sure any calming activity you do is approached with curiosity and fun. Kids will resist if they get the feeling an activity is a chore or if it’s taken too seriously.
  • Find what works for each child. Every kid is different and what works for every child will look a little different. Let your child choose which strategies work best for them and they’ll be much more likely to make it a habit.
  • Make a daily ritual. Quick and easy activities are easier to turn into daily habits. And eventually, daily routines become automatic habits that empower our kids to self-soothe when they’re stressed, anxious, or overstimulated.

How to Learn More Techniques to Help Kids

Sign up to join our community and receive monthly newsletters packed with actionable ideas and tips to help your child be calm, confident, and connected.

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie Esser

PS: If you are looking for more resources to help your child build resiliency skills and habits, download the FREE Resiliency Guide for kids today!  This printable 32-page guide is a great resource to help your child develop wellness from the inside out!

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