Fantastic CBeebies tips

Seven techniques for helping kids keep calm

Try these simple relaxation and mindfulness activities together and help your child learn to calm down when they feel stressed or anxious

This activity helps: Emotions BehaviourBabies and Toddlers Pre-school SchoolSpecial Needs

Even very young children can feel stressed and anxious, especially during times of change or upheaval. Luckily, there are lots of simple activities you can do together to help your little one learn to calm themselves.

Being able to recognise and cope with anxiety is a skill that will benefit children for life – try these simple, calming activities together and see which ones work for you.

1. Use your mind…

Pablo looked deeply into the fluff to see what he can see.

Try it together

Take a small food item (like a raisin or cracker) and ask your child to examine theirs closely (look at it, smell it, see what it feels like in their mouth, taste it and listen carefully to the sound it makes) as though they’ve never eaten one before.

How it works

Mindfulness is about being ‘in the moment’ and focusing completely on what you’re currently doing – using all your senses to really experience it. That might sound challenging for little ones, but simple mindfulness exercises can be a great way to help children learn to pause and think before reacting.

2. Have a giggle and a laugh

Justin and Robert are laughing.

Try it together

Watching a show your child loves, telling jokes or taking turns to pull funny faces at each other can be a great way to relax and handle nervousness.

How it works

Laughter or feeling stimulated helps decrease stress hormones, and relaxes muscles.

3. Breathe deep…

A little friend breathing and relaxing.

Try it together

Encourage your child to breathe in, hold and breathe out. You could use our visualiser as a guide – find a rate that feels comfortable for your little one. Keep going until they feel calmer.

How it works

Simply taking a series of deep breaths will slow down your little one’s heart rate, and help them feel more in control.

4. Stretch it out…

A little friend stretching to the top, then relaxing.

Try it together

Stretch your arms above your heads, stand on tiptoes and make yourselves as tall as possible then flop back down, just like this.

How it works

Encourage your little one to stretch out their muscles to reduce tension. Demonstrate how they could stretch out like a cat, or reach up to the sky.

5. Go cloud-spotting…

Try it together

Stay as still as you can and simply watch the clouds go by together. See if your little one can spot any shapes among the clouds. Use our visualiser if it’s not practical to go outdoors – keep watching closely and you might even spot some familiar CBeebies characters.

How it works

This common technique encourages your child to relax and take their mind off other things. You could do this alongside deep breathing to really help your child chill out.

6. Relax with CBeebies Radio

Try it together

Relax and listen to the calming sounds from CBeebies Radio.

How it works

Listening to relaxing music can help children stop and reset. CBeebies Radio have eight calming sounds to choose from which allows you to experiment and find which one works best:

Waves, birdsong, rain, car journey, spaceship, white noise, pink noise and brown noise.

Claire Benton, Head of Audiology, Nottingham, says:

“Many children find these sounds relaxing and listening to them can help a child feel calm enough to fall asleep”.

7. Do the doodle or colour in…

Try it together

Get busy with paper and crayons, or use one of our Make A Picture tools like the one above to doodle to your heart’s content.

How it works

Doodling can help relieve stress by giving your brain a rest, and it can also spark creativity. Pablo uses his doodles and subsequent trips to the Art World to solve the real-world issues thrown up by his autism.

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