Quick and Easy Tool to help kids lower anxiety and stress
Often when our kids are anxious we tell them to calm down but don't actually show them how to get grounded. Telling them to calm down and relax, without actually showing them how to do so, raises their anxiety as they feel they are doing something wrong but have no idea how to fix it. In our family, we use what my daughter calls, "Soft Love." It is quick, simple, and you can do it with your child whenever they feel anxious. They can also learn to do it regularly, proactively, whenever they want to help themselves practice feeling more calm. It feels really wonderful to practice this with your kids and even with your partner, as most of us could benefit from finding our calm from time to time.
The next time you or kiddo feels anxious, try talking through this exercise:
"I invite you to relax and close your eyes as you take a slow, deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. While your eyes are closed I would like you to notice how you feel in your body as I say the following words to you. Just notice the sensations in your body. Emma, you are safe. You are okay…and everything will be okay. You are loved. You are good through and through. Emma, you are safe and everything will be okay. Now take a deep breath into that knowing that you are safe and all will be okay…And then breath out. And when you are ready, open your eyes and notice how you feel in your body."
Then discuss how they feel before vs. after this quick exercise and help them notice how soft, open, expansive, and secure they likely feel. You can even joke that this is a super power they possess to help them feel calm and wonderful whenever they want. For example, at school they could say this in their head without closing their eyes anytime they want and no one would notice but they would be able to help themselves find their calm.