Many children of divorce will experience tremendous stress. These children may express their stress through angry behavior. When a child is stressed and living in the fight or flight part of the brain they are incapable of learning, processing information or functioning in a reasonable manner. It becomes all about surviving in the moment.
When you can get the child to calm down, you can then help her move through the stressful angry moment.
Here are 8 easy and fun activities that will help children (and adults) calm themselves
Have children put their interlaced hands on their belly. Without raising the shoulders take in a breath through the mouth and purposefully push the hands out. When exhaling pull the hands back in toward the stomach. Their shoulders should not rise.
Child lies on the floor and places a small stuffed animal on their tummy. As the child breathes in, they try and push the breathing buddies toward the sky. When the child exhales the breathing buddy lowers.
Smelling the flowers / blowing out the candle
Using the right hand have the child pretend the pointer finger is a flower. Smell the flower deeply. Using the left hand pretend like the pointer finger is a candle. Now blow out the candle with the breath you used to smell the flower.
Stop Take a breath And Relax.
The child must
Stop what they are focusing on
Take a calming breath
Relax their muscles
Become a STAR
- Standing with both feet together and the arms at each side, take a breath and step out with the right foot and say “I”.
- Taking a deep breath step out with the left foot and say “Am”.
- Taking a deep breath stretch out both arms and say, “A”
- Then taking a deep breath look upwards toward the sky and say, “Star!”
- Then all together repeat “I – Am – A – STAR”
If you took a pen and outlined from head to the right hand, the feet and then the left hand and finally back to the head the body will form a five-point star.
Take in a deep breath and when you release it make the sound like a balloon when you hold open the top of the balloon and let the air out. Boys especially like this one. It also brings a lot of laughs which is a good stress releaser too.
Take in a deep breath through the mouth while raising both arms up to should height with palms facing upwards and then turning the palms facing downwards lower the arms slowly when exhaling. Take the arms all the way down to the each side of the body. If done slowly the child will be able to feel some tingling in their arms and hands. This is one of my favorites.
Blow out the butterflies in your stomach
Take a big deep breath and make your stomach push out, now blow out all those butterflies when you release your breath through the mouth. Make sure the teeth are not clenched. It might help the child to purse their lips as they blow out through their mouth. This is one is great for a child who can feel those butterflies floating around in their tummies before a test or some other stressful event.
Keep in mind that it is the exhale that brings calmness to the brain and the body. Breathing slowly and from the diaphragm sends calming chemicals through the brain.
Now how about trying out some of these calming exercises yourself?