Materials: A stuffed animal or soft toy.
Once your child has practiced naming emotions they feel, they can practice calming themselves. Tell your child that taking deep breaths helps our brain and heart calm down, which helps our body feel safe and peaceful.
Lay down on the floor with your child. Take a soft toy or stuffed animal and place it on your stomach. Tell your child that when you take slow, long, and deep breaths the stuffed friend will move up and down safely on your stomach. Have your child practice breathing slowly with their own toy.
Show your child how your stuffed animal moves quickly and falls off when you breathe short and fast. Ask your child to practice short breaths to see what happens. The next time your child is having a big emotion like sadness or anger, have them try the calming breaths with their stuffed animal.
MAKE IT EASIER:
Younger children will need you to show them how to breathe slowly. You can pick them up, place them on your chest, and breathe deeply and slowly with them when they are upset.
EXTEND THE LEARNING:
Have your child make up breathing games to help calm down when they are upset. They might place a stuffed animal on their head and take three deep breaths to calm down, all while keeping the animal from falling.