Following are a range of ideas for using the senses to assist with anxiety and meltdowns or help with emotional regulation. Once your child is calm, you can discuss what happened and what they were feeling.
It is important that they learn to label their emotions to communicate to you if they are angry, frustrated, worried, sad or disappointed. If your child needs some visual prompts to help them identify their feelings, make a feelings faces chart.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Maybe you could create a table and make your own chart. Write to us and let us know your ideas too, as we are always looking for inspiration. [email protected]
Some of these are great for quick breaks during homework or other tasks that your child finds stressful. You could have them in a little box for those quick breaks. Check out the 30 Pixie Challenge Cards for more ideas. They are available from the online shop.
Go for a nature walk and talk about what you see in the backyard or local park.
Read a book.
Draw a colourful picture or colour in.
Create a painting.
Watch calming scenes such as those on YouTube meditation music with waterfalls etc.
YouTube meditations for kids
King Jedrik’s meditation which can be found in the Fairy Floss Forest
Minksy’s meditation which is at the magic tree in Sprizzletania.
Total quiet – use headphones when noise is overwhelming.
Sing your favourite song.
Play an instrument (even if it is banging a saucepan drum).
Use a calming voice lowering your pitch as you speak each phrase – “Calm down”, “It’s all right”, “You’re okay.”
Smell plants in the garden if they are safe.
Essential oils – in the bath or on the pillow.
Scented colouring pens.
Chew toys and jewellery – not your favourite pearl necklace – you can get special chewable necklaces and objects online
Chew gum – sugar free if your child can have it.
Eat crunchy foods like carrot, celery, apple.
Suck frozen water ice blocks (not the ones with sugar – kids also love just frozen water on a hot day. It calms the savage beast – you should try some!!!
Frozen fruit like grapes/ watermelon/ rockmelon/ pineapple
Ice blocks made from tinned fruit salad are popular too.
Fidget toys (these can even be stowed in pockets for school if the teacher allows them)
Deep pressure activities – wrap your child in different textured materials like a sausage roll – wrap the pastry around them, then rub your hands down their body to be the sauce, then of course you have to pretend to eat them – that’s the best bit. Sandwiches work well too with different types of movement on them for the butter, cheese, tomato or whatever they like – but always end with the munching! MMM delicious!!!
Ice packs/ cool wet cloth on the neck – Our Pixie Friends have a hot/cold gel bead pack perfectly sized for little bodies.
Cuddles, back rubs and back scratches.
Have the child lie down and you roll a gym ball over their tummy then back.
Sit on the floor or a recliner chair or couch – make a nest with your legs. The child sits in the nest and you wrap your arms around them tightly – great for feeling safe and secure. This is also a great place to nestle while reading a book.
Jump on a trampoline
Play with a ball – try different sizes and textures
Ride a bike/scooter/tricycle
Climb a tree
Push against the wall as hard as you can
Monkey bars and other equipment in the park
Do a sequence e.g. do 3 hops, then jump to the fridge and skip back to me