Your little ones can have big feelings, especially in times of uncertainty. And whether they’re sad, scared, angry, or confused, some kids may have trouble staying calm as they experience a rollercoaster of emotions.
Here are 5 mediation and mindfulness resources and techniques — developed just for kids — that you can use to keep your child calm during tumultuous times.
Breathing and Meditation Tools from Sesame Street
Parents can always count on Sesame Street to save the day. When your child feels frustrated and needs help relaxing, encourage her to try belly breathing with Rosita.
In this video, Sesame Street character Rosita video teaches kids how to calm down by focusing on their breathing. It’s simple. Just put your hand on your belly and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, Rosita says.
But that’s not all. Sesame Street has partnered with the meditation app Headspace to create “Monster Meditations.”
In Sesame Street Monster Meditation #1: I-Sense with Cookie Monster, kids learn how to stay calm while waiting.
Mr. Andy from Headspace teaches Cookie Monster, who’s getting impatient waiting for his cookies to bake, that meditation can help.
Mr. Andy says meditation is an activity that can make waiting more fun. After doing some belly breathing, Andy shows Cookie Monster how to meditate by using the senses.
In Sesame Street Monster Meditation #2: Goodnight Body with Elmo, kids learn how to calm down for bed.
Mr. Andy from Headspace guides Elmo through saying goodnight to each body part, wiggling that body part, and then relaxing it. If your child has been struggling with restless nights, this may do the trick.
Sesame Street also has a free app (available for Andriod and iOS) called “Breathe, Think, Do” that teaches very young children the basics of calming down through breathing.
Headspace Meditation for Kids
Headspace has also created a platform specifically for kids.
The app features mindfulness activities for children with five themes: Calm, Focus, Kindness, Sleep, and Wake Up. Each activity is customized for three different age groups: Under 5, 6–8, and 10–12.
Headspace has also partnered with Barbie to raise awareness about the importance of meditation and mindfulness.
Journaling can be a good way to help people of any age through times of anxiety. Encourage your child to keep a journal of good things that happened each day.
These journal entries can be recorded in a favorite notebook or you can try the app 3 Good Things.
This journaling app is based on a simple premise: If kids write down three good things that happen to them each day, they’ll feel happier.
The app will guide your child through writing a few words about three good things that happened that day. It will even remind your kid to write each day and your child can use the app to read past journal entries.
The 3 Good Things app is free but only available for iOS.
Homemade Stress Balls
If you’re looking for a low-tech way to help your kid relax, try creating homemade stress balls. First, fill a couple of balloons with lentils or rice. Next, have your child take the ball(s) in one or both hands and squeeze and release.
Let your child repeat as necessary at his or her own pace and pressure.
Exercises to Release Muscle Tension
Sometimes moving the body can have a powerful effect on our mind and mood.
If your child needs to release muscle tension, try one of these exercises from Save the Children.
- Pretend you are a lazy cat that just woke up from a lovely long nap.
- Have a big yawn and a meow.
- Now stretch out your arms, legs, and back – slowly like a cat – and relax.
- Pretend you are a turtle going for a slow, relaxed turtle walk.
- But then it starts to rain, so you curl up tight under your shell for about 10 seconds.
- Now, the sun’s out again. So, come out of your shell and return to your relaxing walk.
- Repeat a few times.
- Finish with a walk so that your body is relaxed.
What calming techniques do you use to help your child relax?