All is Well: Two Things I Love for Encouraging Children to Find Calm with Others and Within Themselves
Today I’m sharing two tools I use and LOVE for encouraging self-regulation through adult guidance and compassion. It’s important to remember that emotional regulation is a developmental process, so we as adults cannot expect our children to always demonstrate regulated and desired behaviors. Instead, we AND our children benefit from working together in quiet moments to co-regulate and help encourage budding skills. Here is a short read which is helpful in providing brief information and additional resources.
The “Calming Corner”
This can literally be ANYTHING you want it to be! If you have an extra room, it can be a calming room! It is a place that should feel cozy and comforting, with a calm and positive energy! I wanted to do this in my own home after I began a more committed journey with meditation, BUT I also wanted to do it so my daughter could learn to seek a calming place when she needs it. I had read an article about helping to encourage self-regulation through having “time ins” rather than “time outs”. The “calming corners” should contain things that encourage calm. Cozy blankets, pillows, light music, art supplies, whatever it is that that child leans towards. But we live in 900 square feet and I thought I want to have a calm space too! So ours is a combo!
- Clear out the energy of the space (you do not HAVE to do this, but if you give it a try it does feel wonderful!): You can do this with sage or palo santo OR a combination of water, vinegar, lemon oil, and/or cedar wood oil. When you are clearing out the old energy repeat a mantra of your choice to put the energy you want into the space “Thank you for this space of calm and positivity.” Have your child do this with you if you want! Have them come up with their own words about how this is a happy place for anyone who wishes to use it!
- Put things in the space that make you feel GOOD! You can remove energy from these items in the same way as the space! We have lots of pillows, quilts made by my grandmother, llamas (because I love them), a diffuser, a salt lamp, and an intention box. My daughter LOVES crashing into the pillows.
- Sit in the space and ENJOY! Your child watching you seek calm will be the BEST model for them to do the same. Even say aloud “I am feeling overwhelmed/frustrated I am going to use the calming space to help calm down. Sit together in the space and enjoy special quality time together.
Teaching Children the Meditation Body Scan using a “Traveling Star”
I recently completed a continuing education course entitled: Mindfulness Techniques in Speech Therapy. Which is where I was introduced to this idea, and I have loved it so much I wanted to share! The Body Scan is helpful in releasing tension and stress, as well as becoming more aware of physical sensations that accompany emotions. If you would like guidance on using Body Scan as an adult check it out here!
- Have child lie down flat on their back with arms and legs out straight. Get a flashlight which will be your “star”.
- Have your child tighten the muscles (squeeze) in their body.
- Tell them that the light is a “calming star” and as it moves along each body part that body part is going to get very heavy and relaxed.So heavy that they wouldn’t be able to lift it off the floor.
- Repeat tracing their body 2-3 times, that’s it!
- If you want to work on deep breathing, they could place a stuffed animal or breathing buddy on their stomach and watch it rise and fall!
- Your turn! Let your child trace you with the calming star! You can even narrate your feelings, and deep breathing as a form of modeling for them to see!