1.”Smell the flowers, blow out the candles”
A big deep breath in through your nose & a long slow breath out through your mouth (hold up your fingers to match the number of birthday candles on your child’s cake!) slows down your child’s heartbeat, which slows down the blood rushing through their system that grows that big feeling – and interrupt/catches the message to their brain.
2. Drink Water
Most children have a water with them at school, many keep it right on their desk (or they should for this next tip!) and you can’t hold your breath & get tense – if you’re drinking water. This allows for a brief pause – where a child can notice their big feeling & remember that they can make a CHOICE, that they are in charge of their feelings, not the other way around. The pause allows a child to get up & move, change their breathing (step 1) and choose a strategy instead of the big feeling getting too big to handle
3. Squeeze, Scrunch – Relax (repeat!) – Squeeze, Scrunch – Relax (repeat!)
Big feelings sometimes need to get out!! Squeeze hands, toes, arms legs – everything you can think of and scrunch up your face – relax – do it again. (and maybe, again) The feeling of tensing, then relaxing provides a physical relief to children who feel their body responding to a growing feeling.
**I loves these because all of these strategies are portable. They can be used in the car, at school (big one!!), at a friends house or during an after school group or club, yet no one else needs to know you are using them to manage big feelings because they are basically invisible.