Deep breathing is the number one suggested way to calm down. Lately I’ve been looking into ways to calm my preschooler. Roo has had a rough few weeks and we wanted to help her learn to be more in control of her emotions.
Big emotions can be scary for toddlers and preschoolers. It’s our job as parents to help them navigate through them. Part of my research has led me to a parenting book called No-Drama Discipline. (This isn’t a review of the book, just throwing it out there that I’ve learned a lot from this particular book.)
The next part of my research has included ways to distract, calm, and redirect my preschooler during a meltdown. Using what I’ve learned, Roo and I are building a calm down tool kit.
Inside will be tools she can use to calm herself. To Roo the tools look like toys and games to play with. I know that each tool will help her to calm down and recenter so she can better communicate her emotions.
Today we added somethings for Roo’s calm down tool box that will help her take deep, calming breaths. Simply saying “Calm down and take a breath,” almost always will result in a furious “NO!” Kids often need a visualization to help them understand a deep breathing technique. Or even an activity to distract them from their big emotion.
Deep Breathing Tools
#1 Smell the Flower
A fake flower that your child helps to pick out
Essential Oils (optional)
What to do
If you are choosing to use essential oils, add a few drops to the center of the fake flower or add some to a spray bottle along with a carrier liquid and spritz the flower.
I find using the essential oils help to provide something for the child to actually smell and tickle that sense. There are many blends that are made to provide calm, peace, and mindfulness that are safe for kids. Here’s some of my favorites.
Place the flower in the tool box to bring out the next time your child needs to take some calming breaths. Encourage them to smell the flower. You might have to show them first.
*sniff sniff* “Ahh, this flower smells so good! Want to try?” Encourage the “Ahh” to get that big exhale they need to relax their muscles. You’ll both be giggling before you know it.
What to do
Does your preschooler love bubbles as much as mine does? She has finally gotten to where she enjoys blowing the bubbles as much as chasing them. Chances are just playing with the bubbles will have the effect of distracting your child from whatever emotion they were having. But try to encourage them to blow slowly into the wand to make a BIG bubble. The slow exhale will relieve tension and settle the bubbles in their tummies.
If you are making a smaller, on the go calm down tool kit, you can either put the mini bubbles like you get at weddings. Or you can place just the wand and pretend to blow bubbles.
#3 Birthday Candle
What to do
Ask if your preschooler remembers their last birthday. “Remember blowing out your candles?” Here you bring out the candle, and if you choose to light it do that now, but pretending is just as effective.
“Let’s pretend it’s your birthday and blow out this candle. Ready?” Take an exaggerated breath and blow out the candle. Repeat a couple more times until the child seems calmer.
After The Deep Breathing…
Once you’ve tried the deep breathing tools and the child has calmed down. You can either move on to another tool, or begin redirection and talk to the child about their behavior. The stress ball we made would be a perfect tool for the child to use while you communicate about their emotion and the actions it lead to.