Recommended ages: All ages
Children can sense the anxiety in our homes and communities, and they need the adults who care for them to help them feel safe and secure, especially during a crisis. You can cultivate a sense of calm for children – and yourself – with these ideas.
Take a Deep Breath . . .
When you feel things getting tense, remember to breathe. Try different shapes to teach deep breathing – or relaxation breathing – which calms our emotional responses, helping children and adults feel more secure. Children also can create their own shapes and trace the outline of the shape with their finger.
Credit: Coping Skills for Kids
Remember: deep, relaxing breathing comes from the diaphragm and does not involve the shoulders.
Pro Tip: Teach young children to belly breathe with these easy steps: 1) have your child lie down, 2) put a stuffed animal on his belly, 3) ask him to breathe slowly, and 4) challenge your child to make the stuffed animal move up and down without it falling off.
. . . And Connect
While we are spending more time in close proximity, we may not be connecting as well with one another. Try slowing down, putting away your phone, and connecting:
- Use your schedule to build in connection points throughout the day.
- Leverage mealtimes and bedtime as natural connection points.
- Practice shared deep breathing as described above.
Pro Tip: Friends, grandparents, and other relatives can be a great source of virtual support. Grandparents, especially, may enjoy scheduling some virtual “me” time with their grandchildren. To maximize virtual visits, review these great suggestions from the child development experts at Zero to Three.