This post is really for everyone. How does anyone “calm down” nowadays? Life is busy! Life is stressful! Life is hard! All true. But channel your inner Buddha, my friends. Let’s get to our happy places and get calm.
I am not going to stress you out more by talking about stress. We already get it. And here’s the thing-when we are stressed, kids know. Their little brains are constantly observing and making sense of their world. They are aware that something is going on, they just won’t know what it is until we act on it. This is why it’s important to talk to your kids about your thoughts and feelings (in a PG manner, of course) and how you calm down.
~Breathe!!!!! Practice deep breathing with your kiddo. Use bubbles, pinwheels or balloons to liven it up a bit. Have them place their hand on their stomach to learn how it feels to breathe in and out. I recommend using slow, methodical breaths 3-5 times per repetition.
~ Get some deep pressure in your life. Sometimes our nervous systems get a little out of whack. This can happen to anyone but it’s especially common for folks and kiddos with anxiety, ADHD, sensory processing issues, or who are on the spectrum. Deep pressure touch or massage helps provide the sensory feedback to calm us down. Try giving a hug with a light squeeze at your kiddo’s transition times. Here are some more ideas.
~Get outside. It’s hard to quantify the benefits of being outside but we know they are there. Being in the sun has long been known to have health and mood benefits. Being in nature, especially big nature like the forest or near water inspires wonder and awe which is also thought to help ease stress and improve mood. Plus it’s just fun-good things happen outside!
~ Practicing mindfulness is another great way to help teach kiddos to calm down. It’s hard to focus on one thing at a time but it’s wonderful when we are able to do so. This is what mindfulness teaches. There are a bazillion articles out there on mindfulness but the first step I use when teaching kids is how to do mindful observation with a liquid motion timer. They are engaging enough to draw kids in, and provide a clear time structure.
~ Last, but absolutely not least, sit with your child and draw or build something that represents peace and calm for them (I always always always draw the ocean!) This will help give them something to visualize when they need to picture “a happy place” in their mind. To peace, relaxation and calm!!!