Settle, Settle

Settling down is HARD, especially for children.

Every parent has been there. You're in a situation where your child needs to be settled, but they're still little balls of energy (seriously, where do they get that from?!).

I've corralled a few calming techniques you can try the next time everyone needs a relaxing moment:

Get Personal. Bend down to their level and look them in the eye. Empathize that it's hard, but that they will get a chance to play when you're done.

Deep Breaths. Bonus points if you can get your child to hug themselves (compression can work wonders). Invent a phrase to say as they're breathing, such as spelling their names, "I love you" or "Peace begins with me."

Cross the Midline. A child's brain needs to pay extra attention anytime a body part crosses the middle of the body. This will help focus your child's energy to other places AND help your child's future reading and writing skills. Have them touch their legs with their opposite hand (right leg, left hand) to practice this. What other ways can you cross the midline?

Music. Sing a nursery rhyme or listen to lullabies. Adding music and rhythm to words will help your child's brain switch gears. White noise works, too.

Food and Drink. No one is able to think straight when they're hangry. Offer a few sips of water or bites of a snack (from North Shore Pediatric Therapy, opens a new window).

Meditation. I know this sounds daunting, but it's totally doable. Ask your child to scrunch up the muscles in their head and work down the body until they reach their toes.

Counting with Your Senses. Find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste in your environment. This is a common trick for combating anxiety and fear, too (from Coping Skills for Kids, opens a new window).

Breathing Exercises. Pretend to blow up a balloon or birthday candles (from, opens a new window).

Be a Role Model. Give your child a visual example using their favorite person: you. This isn't easy, because the first thing we tend to do when our children are energetic in an inappropriate space is tense up. Try some of the above techniques for yourself, too.

What works for you and your family?