Kiddos are freaking out? Facilitate 10 ways of finding calm. Explore below to help them learn or improve on how to smooth things over within themselves. Whether your kiddo just “needs to calm down”, could stand to develop more patience, or might be struggling with feelings of anger or fear, the ten calming mindfulness exercises below help with these – and more! You modeling and/or facilitating the practice of purposefully paying attention to the present, internally and externally, otherwise known as mindfulness, can have a soothing effect on various agitating feelings.
10 Ways to Find Calm
- Fist Squeeze – “Letting Go of ANGER” (*standing/sitting/laying down.): Relax arms, to the sides; Breathe mindfully (3x); Take NOTICE of feelings and thoughts; IMAGINE them, like burning sensations, being collected into the palms; Breathe in, squeezing fists tightly; Breathe out, opening and relaxing the palms; IMAGINE releasing the burning sensations to drift away to nothingness; Breathing in, squeeze the fists again; Allow the burning energy to build; Breathe out, open the palms, releasing that energy; REPEAT until a sense of CALM settles in; Finally, loosen arm muscles by slowly swinging them around.
- The Jellyfish – “Let FEARS Float Away”: Lie down, arms relaxed at the sides; Close the eyes; NOTICE how, according to breathing, the stomach/ “tummy” rises and falls; Relax the body, becoming completely still; Allow muscles to sink down through the body into the surface below; IMAGINE transforming into a jellyfish, happily floating on water; Allow any worries to slide off the slippery jelly body; FEEL those worries slipping away; FEEL the freedom to continue floating throughout the ocean, without obstacles; Gradually rise, holding worry-free happiness within.
- Power of Blue – “Soothe HURT Feelings”: Sit mindfully – body relaxed with spine straight; Close the eyes; Breathing In, IMAGINE a blue light pulsing from the forehead; FEEL it calming any thoughts; Breathing Out, picture that light sliding down the throat; Allow it to calmly clear unkind thoughts or words; Breathing In, again, IMAGINE the light becoming brighter; Breathing Out, picture it falling into the heart; Allow it to soothe any hurt feelings; Breathing In, again, IMAGINE the blue light illuminating the entire body; Breathing Out, FEEL the glow spread to the toes; Sit peacefully within the blue light, until ready to go.
- Mind Bubbles – “Blow WORRIES Away”: Sit mindfully – body relaxed, with spine straight; IMAGINE holding/Use a bubble wand; Breathe In deeply; Breathing Out, “blow a bubble” through the wand; Breathe In, again; NOTICE any worries; IMAGINE what the worry looks like; Breathing out, blow the worries through the wand; Let them form a bubble; IMAGINE now, the bubble disappears upon popping; KEEP blowing worries away, until ready to resume the day.
- Finding the Pause – “Discover PATIENCE”: Breathe normally; After each exit-breath, NOTICE short, natural pauses between breaths; Upon a pause, Relax the shoulders; Breathe In; NOTICE the next pause; Breathe Out; On that pause, Relax stomach muscles; Breathe in/Breathe out; finding the next pause, Relax the feet; Continue the process, relaxing the entire body.
- The Happy Hum – “SETTLE DOWN with the Inner Hum”: Sit mindfully – body relaxed with spine straight; Close the eyes; Close the lips; Start humming, until finding a pleasant hum; Breathe In deeply; while Breathing Out, hum that pleasant note; Breathe In / Breathe Out / Hum / REPEAT; Place hands on chest; NOTICE vibration in the chest – “How does it feel to the hand / body?”; Breathe-in / Breathe-out / HUMMM / Repeat; Allow humming to spread CALM throughout the Heart; Gradually soften the hum until quiet; Breathe mindfully (3x).
- The Tummy Ride – “Breathing in Waves of PEACE” (adjust for age-appropriateness/ preference): Select stuffed animal or smaller pillow; Lie down, placing it on the “tummy”/stomach; Rest arms loosely at the sides; Breathing normally, observe how the item goes up and down, like riding a wave; Start counting with the breathing, like this… ‘Breathe In – two – three / Breathe Out – two – three’ (& REPEAT); If the item falls, Replace it and Continue with Counted Breathing; Continue, until relieved.
- Shaking Out Silliness – “CALM the Wiggles”: Standing still, Breathe In and Hold; Breathing Out, shake the arms, high/ low; Shake legs out, different directions; Shake the body, until it’s loose; Little ones, should shake-shake those sillies out, until they fly off “like water droplets”; Drop down onto a mat or a comfy chair, saying “AHHhh”; Breathe Mindfully, slowly filling the nose, lungs, and tummy (Repeat 3x).
- The Imaginary Hideaway – “Build a Place of PEACE”: Lying down on a blanket or mat, rest arms loosely at the sides; IMAGINE feeling happy, safe, and secure in a peaceful place; Explore this peaceful space; NOTICE the details, such as landscape….”Do you hear any animals, water, or trees? Do you smell flowers?”…; IMAGINE doing a fun, fantastical activity there! (i.e. Ride or Fly a wild animal!); Before leaving, go find a hidden gift; Returning to the PRESENT, wave and say goodbye to this peaceful place and new animal friends; Turn ATTENTION to the surrounding sounds; Hold the peaceful feeling inside the heart, comforted. Open the eyes, ready to move on.
- Breathing for Balance – “Breathe for STEADINESS”: Sit mindfully – straight spine with relaxed body; Breathe mindfully (3x); Press one nostril closed at a time; for each open nostril, Breathe In and Hold; Breathe Out slowly, for each open nostril; Alternate nostrils for In/Out Breathing (3x/+); Breathe mindfully (3x); Relax hands in the lap; Pause – NOTICE: “How do you feel?”.
Kiddos are freaking out? Facilitate 10 ways of finding calm. Help them be able to soothe themselves. Remember that calming mindfulness practices are adaptable to age, maturity, ability, and comfort level. Sprinkle in some imagination, and let the soothing begin!
*MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: “Mindfulness practice is a resource, not a substitute for medical treatment. If you have concerns, please consult your healthcare provider.”
RESOURCE: Stewart, Whitney. (2017). Mindful Kids: 50 Mindfulness Activities for Kindness, Focus, and Calm. Illustrated by Mina Braun. Cambridge, MA; Barefoot Books. www.barefootbooks.com . Whitney Stewart; www.whitneystewart.com . Mina Braun; www.minabraun.com . Alexandra Strick and Beth Cox, of “Inclusive Minds” (UK); www.inclusiveminds.com . Stefanie Paige Wieder, M. S. Ed., Child Development Specialist; www.stefwieder.com .