Little kids often have big emotions and are unsure of how to manage them. Here are some helpful tips on how to teach your little ones calming strategies in a way that they will understand and enjoy.
Robot: Have your child pretend that they are a robot. To do this, ask them to stand up tall and strong with their feet about hip distance apart. When they are ready, ask them to slowly tense each of their muscles.
Ragdoll: After tensing their muscles, have your child imagine they are a ragdoll. Have your child inhale deeply, then exhale and bend at the hips to hang their torso, arms, and head down like a ragdoll. Have them gently shake their head until all the tension is released from their shoulder, neck, and head. Keep arms floppy and loose. Instruct them to relax into the stretch and hold for 4-6 seconds.
Cat: Ask your child to sit down on a chair and begin with their hands together, fingers entwined. Instruct them to turn their palms out, inhale deeply and extend their arms straight up in the air. As they exhale, have them slowly pull their belly in and round their shoulders as they stretch their hands out in front of them. After a brief hold, ask them to inhale and bring their arms back over their head. Have them repeat 3-5 times.
At the Beach: While your child is sitting and relaxed, ask them to close their eyes and imagine that they are lying on the beach. Then, walk them through the following script: “Imagine it is the most beautiful sunny day. There is a gentle, cool breeze but the sand is warm and cozy. Feel your body sink into the sand as you lie there in the sun. The warmth of the sand is soothing and relaxing on your neck, shoulders, and arms. Your body feels heavy and relaxed. The soft, dry sand soothes the backs of your legs and your feet. As the sun touches your face, you notice the muscles in your face relax. You hear the soothing, rhythmic crashing of the waves. In the distance, you hear seagulls calling to each other. You can smell the salty sea are and the sweet smell of fresh popped pop corn. You are happy, calm, peaceful. Stay here for a bit. Notice the smells, sounds, sensations, and sights around you. Take long, deep breaths and feel your body relax more and more.”
Balloon: Instruct your child to sit or lie down (whatever is most comfortable), close their eyes, and put their hands on their lower belly. Have them imagine that their belly is a balloon that inflates when they breathe slowly in through their nose and deflates as they slowly exhale through their nose. As them to repeat 4-6 times.