Strategies to calm down before deciding how to act

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Some suggestions include, tell your child to:

  • Take a break
  • Go and get a drink
  • Walk down the hall
  • Press your feet firmly into the floor
  • Do something physical – some push-ups or a jiggly dance
  • Go stiff like a robot then go limp like a beanbag
  • Take deep tummy breaths
  • Change negative thoughts such as ‘I’ll never be able to finish’ into positives ‘I did it yesterday’
  • Shift focus from what has made them angry – look out the window for a moment

Have your child make a short list (pictures or written) of possible calming down activities that they like and can do when they start to feel out of control. This list should be kept handy.

The Turtle Approach gives steps for ‘stopping and thinking’ before acting.

Ride the Wave offers a strategy for how to cope when feeling anxious.

Stein, J. Emotional Self Regulation: A critical component of executive function. Chapter in Meltzer, L. (2010) Promoting Executive Function in the Classroom. The Guildford Press, New York.