preschool children calming techniques

Calming Techniques for Preschool Aged Children

December 22, 2018

by Stephenie Shapoff, NP

While preschool aged children are beginning to understand their emotions they are still difficult for them to regulate. They can become overwhelmed by the emotions they are experiencing. The following techniques can help little ones reset and be able to better express how they are feeling.

  1. Flower Candle or Smell the Pizza: This is great because it gets your child to do calming deep breaths and gives them something to do with their busy hands. For “flower candle” have your child hold both hands in front of them. One hand holds the imaginary flower and one hand holds the imaginary candle. Your child should then slowly smell the flower and then blow out the candle. Alternatively, your child can hold an imaginary slice of pizza and then smell the pizza, blow on it to cool it off and then eat the pizza. Often this imaginary play will also take their mind off of the overwhelming emotion in addition to facilitating those deep calming breaths.
  2. Liquid Oil Drop Motion Timer: This is an inexpensive item to purchase that can also aid in calming those big emotions. You and your child can find a “calm spot” in the house and this is where the timer can live. When they seem to be getting overwhelmed you can have them go to their calm spot and “watch the bubbles”. These timers take about one minute for all of the colored oil to fall to the bottom. This can also be done after a round of “flower candle”
  3. The Calm Spot: As discussed above, you and your child (when all is calm and emotions are not overwhelming) can find an area in your home to be the “calm spot”. The oil timer can live there and your child can choose other calming items to keep there (books to read, a stuffed animal, blanket, etc.) They can know this as their own special space that they can use to reset. A great alternative to time out!
  4. “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry”: This is a great book to reinforce all of the calming techniques addressed above. In this book Sophie gets angry that she has to share a toy and at first lashes out but then learns about leaving and calming herself. It is a good book to reference when discussing big emotions with your little one.

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