Calming Activities Just in Time for Back to School
Anxious about back to school? Not sure how your child is going to do after so many months of being away? Here are a few, fun, at home activities you can do with your child to help them build a few skills and coping strategies before they transition back to the classroom!
Calming glitter jars
Glitter? Calming? Maybe not in general, but sealed in a calming jar? For sure! There are so many great and simple instructions out there for making calming jars at home. You can reuse a plastic water bottle or grab new ones and make jars with the whole family. For the kiddos who feel more anxious at night, in the dark, or before bed, use glow in the dark glue for nighttime relaxation!
Bubbles are so fun and versatile! Grab a bottle and practice breathing in slowly through your nose, filling your belly with air, and then breathing out with your mouth while blowing all the bubbles from the wand! You can practice waiting and inhibiting impulses but blowing bubbles but not popping them, or practice mindfulness by blowing bubbles and counting as many as you can or naming the colours they reflect!
Is your child into arts and craft? Or a homemade jewellery fan? Find a bracelet kit with letter beads and have your child make a. bracelet or necklace with a positive word of affirmation on it. Then, when your child is feeling sad, anxious, worried, scared, or angry, have them look down at the bracelet or necklace, focus on the affirmation and think about what it means to them.
Worry stones are both an opportunity to get outside and do a calming craft. Go on a scavenger hunt and find smooth stones that will fit in the palm of your child’s hand. Take them home, clean them off, and paint them. Once they are dry (you can decorate them further) or keep the stone as is in your child’s pocket, backpack, or room to hold whenever they need to calm themselves. For older children this can be a subtle way to ground themselves without using a tool that draws attention.
Rainy morning? Too hot to go outside? Looking to mix it up on movie night in? Well, see if you can find the movie Inside Out! It offers great, emotions based language and opportunities to discuss the characters, yours, and your child’s emotional experiences.
Spend some time with your child figuring out what strategies they like and find most helpful and make a stack of coping cards with them! The cards can have pictures of things that make them happy, short breathing exercises, grounding or relaxation techniques, movements that help settle their bodies, and much more! You can print them off, draw them, or write/type them out! Then cut them into small square cards, practice them regularly, and keep them handy for those tough moments! Feeling fancy? Laminate the cards and put them on a ring for durability and easy access.
Looking for more?
Click the link for a progressive muscle relaxation script for kids
Click the link for shapes breathing cards
Have fun, take a deep breath, and enjoy the new transitions ahead!
Written by Megan Adams Lebell, M.Ed., Registered Psychologist with Wildflowers