Top Five Tips for Helping Kids Stay Cool, Calm & Collected at Home
At a time when our kids are experiencing so much disruption to their routines and so many changes to their lives, they may have difficulty staying cool, calm & collected. Our kids are having to adjust to sudden changes in the way that they learn, where they can play and how they can interact with peers and extended family members. We’ve put together 5 top tips to support kids’ regulation at home to manage stress and adjust to living so much of life indoors. These tips can be used to support kids to check in with their body and emotions and establish a sense of calm at a time when the world seems so chaotic.
Daily regulation rituals can be a wonderful way to create a sense of calm and routine. Calming rituals can be especially helpful before starting a day of learning from home, helping kids to find their focus and a sense of rejuvenation. Introducing a morning calming ritual can also help kids to transition into the school day without a physical change to their setting. This can help with establishing a clearer sense of starting the school day without having the usual physical transition of moving from the home environment to the school environment. Your daily regulation ritual can be flexible to suit your family’s style. We love grounding activities such as a mindfulness meditation or an energising morning yoga sequence. Apps such as Calm and Headspace offer guided mindfulness meditations for kids and Cosmic Kids Yoga offers engaging yoga sequences integrating story-telling and adventure. Some families we know are walking around the block to “walk” to school!
Regulation check-ins can give kids the space check in with their bodies and identify their regulation needs. While participating in a learning from home routine, offering your kids regulation check-ins can help your kids communicate their needs. Creating a routine of pausing, reflecting and identifying our emotional and physical state can offer opportunities for us to proactively support our kids to stay cool, calm & collected. Ever have those moments where you feel you are not particularly regulated? Use them as an opportunity to model to your child. Show your kids how to check-in – pause and then identify how you are going with a simple word or phrase. You may label that you’re feeling calm, energised, tired or in need of a break. Prompting your children to do the same can help your children work with you to figure out whether it’s time for a movement break, calming activity or even a little time spent outside in nature.
Regulate through Play
Play is a powerful tool for regulation. Integrating regular play breaks with lots of movement and imagination can help your kids to participate in their learning from home routines successfully. Try creating obstacle courses using couch cushions, chairs, towels for stepping stones and anything else you can think of and spend time navigating the space with new eyes. You can take your kids on an adventure through the jungle or the ocean using your lounge room obstacle course! Occupying their minds and bodies through imaginative play can help your kids refocus and self-regulate. Feel free to jump on board with our daily movement breaks at 12.50 on Facebook Live!
Talk about the Positives
With all the changes in their lives and constant news about the evolving COVID-19 crisis, kids may be feeling stressed and worried. While COVID-19 has been a devastating and tragic crisis, reflecting on the positives with your kids can help them settle and establish a sense of safety and security. Talking about the benefits of staying at home to protect both your family and the wider community can be empowering. Reflecting on the fact that you’re able to spend more time as a family, spend more time with family pets and pick up new hobbies at home can help kids to see some positive at such a challenging and unprecedented time. Why not start a daily journal? It can be written or spoken – just noting 3 things that day that made you feel happy.
Partners in Regulation
Self-regulation is a learned skill that your child is constantly growing and developing. Children experience the most success at staying cool, calm & collected through caregivers modelling and regulating with their children. At times when kids are finding it hard to regulate, we as adults can provide support by partnering with them to pave the road to regulation through our words, tone of voice and actions. Showing your child the goal of being cool, calm & collected by using calm and gentle words, recognising, acknowledging and emphasising with their emotions and by staying calm and gentle in our actions, we can invite kids to join us and re-establish a sense of calm. This is also an opportunity to model to your child that it is ok not to feel amazing 100% of the time! If you have a tough moment, talk with them about it! Ask their ideas on how to help you feel better, or let them know that you need a little break to recharge your engine. Model to them what you would like to see them do when they feel upset or angry. Research shows us that our absolute first line of defensive against stress and being dysregulated is social engagement – and particularly those close to us.
Written by Kathleen Richardson
Image source: PopSugar Family https://www.popsugar.com/family/Ways-Make-Playing-Inside-More-Fun-Kids-42859764