Helping Kids Calm Down

  • Close your eyes and think of a place that makes you happy.
  • Draw a picture.
  • Squeeze something, like a stress ball or play dough.
  • Name animals alphabetically (alligator, bear, cow, dog, etc.)
  • Take a break and get a drink of water.
  • Hug a stuffed animal or pillow and squeeze it tight!
  • Listen to music or sing a song you love.

Deep Breathing

One of the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways to calm anxiety is through deep breathing exercises. There are many online resources to help you and your children practice taking deep breaths. You can help kids learn how to breathe deeply using an object like a stuffed animal. With your child lying down, place the stuffed animal on their stomach. When they breathe in, the stuffed animal should rise with their breath and when they breathe out, it should fall. This helps promote deep breathing through the belly rather than shallow breaths through the chest.

Helpful Tricks

  • Practice together while your child is in a calm state.
  • Pretend like you’re smelling a flower. This encourages breathing in through the nose.
  • Breathe out through your mouth. Pretend like you are blowing out candles on a cake, or use pinwheels or bubbles.
  • Pretend you have a balloon in your belly. Breathe in to fill up the balloon and breathe out to shrink it back down again.

Source: Coping Skills for Kids

Video Series

Check back each week for a new video by Dr. Rodriguez on managing stress and anxiety and caring for your mental health. You can follow along on our YouTube channelFacebook, or IGTV.