Helping Children Ages 3-5 Find Calm

Helping Children Ages 3-5 Find Calm

Strong emotions can be like a tidal wave that engulfs and overwhelms children…and often everyone around them.  Here are a few pointers on how to help children learn how to express and regulate emotion at an early age and how to find their way to calm.

1. Keep a cool head. Take an honest peek at your own natural, human reactions and practice on a regular basis soothing yourself and finding your own calm first.

2. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

      • Know your child’s needs.  Attend to sleep routines, healthy snacks and meals, time to run and play, time to snuggle and have your attention.
      • Playful practice when calm.  The time to practice calming techniques and learn about emotions is when children are calm – not when they are upset.  Practice regularly!

3. Be the master of your breath.  Conscious breathing is a BRIDGE between mind and body bringing profound calm. Here is one fun and powerful breath exercises you can teach young children: Birthday Cake Breathing!

      • Have your child engage his or her imagination and describe a pretend birthday cake right out in front of them. What kind of cake is it? What flavor? How is it decorated?
      • Together place the pretend candles on the cake and light the candles.
      • Smell that delicious cake taking in a really big, deep breath!
      • Blow out all those candles until your lungs are all out of air!
      • Ooops! There are still some candles lit. Do it again!

4. Be spaghetti.

      • Stand tall. Stand stiff. Be DRY, UNCOOKED spaghetti! Tighten every muscle in your body from the tip of your toes to the top of your head.
      • Now relax every part of your body and turn into a wiggly, squishy, loose, relaxed WET, COOKED spaghetti noodle! Completely relaxed like that cooked noodle.

5. Play clay. Any brand of play clay will do or you can make your own.  Keep it nearby and accessible.  Squeezing, rolling, pounding, pinching, flattening play clay is a soothing activity.

6. Pipe in the tunes. “Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak,” wrote William Congreve. Consider creating a soothing play list to have on the ready.

7. Lower the lights. Bright lights can cause irritation in the nervous system for a lot of children.

Remember… having emotions is a normal, natural part of being human.  Learning and teaching children how to regulate emotions and express them in a healthy way will be a life skill they will carry with them into adulthood.

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