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Like adults, kids are struggling right now. Current health concerns add stress to us all. You might be seeing your preschooler return to earlier behaviors, becoming more clingy, easier to anger, and/or displaying moments of separation anxiety. Having activities that help our bodies feel calm and restored are important ways to combat the effects of stress.

The benefit: Activities that promote a breath where the exhale is longer than the inhale sends a signal to your brain to put you in a state of ease. In this rest and relaxation state, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers, and your body is in a state of calm and healing.

Here are three activities to give your child (and you!) a moment to breathe. If you have any questions about how to support your family in dealing with stress and anxiety, we are here to help.

Activity #1: Water bubble volcanoes

You’ll need: A small plastic cup, water, drinking straw (for blowing), dish soap, a cookie sheet (or some dish to catch the bubbles), towels on standby

  1. Fill your cup about half full of water.
  2. Add only a few drops of liquid dish soap.
  3. Demonstrate to your child how to blow into the straw to create bubbles with an occasional reminder not to suck in the liquid. No one wants a mouth full of bubbles.
  4. Let them loose! The bubbles will tower up and spill out onto the tray. The kids will have fun with calming breaths, popping bubbles and seeing what happens as they overflow.

Activity #2: Blow painting

You’ll need: Watered-down craft paint, drinking straw (for blowing), art paper, a cookie sheet, or old newspaper to catch the paint

  1. Mix a dollop of kid’s craft paint (washable is best) with several tablespoons of water.
  2. Place the art paper on a cookie sheet or old newspaper.
  3. Spoon scoops of watered-down paint onto a sheet of paper. Optional activity: Try out two primary colors to see how secondary colors are made!
  4. Using a straw, blow each color blob in different directions to mix the two colors together. If the paint doesn’t move very easily, try adding a few more drops of water to the mixture.

Activity #3: Bubble blowing, a mindfulness activity

You’ll need: bubbles for blowing

Remember, activities that promote a simple breath with an extended exhale calm both the nervous system and overworked mind. Blowing bubbles with your child can promote the calming effect for both of you. Practice blowing the bubbles together to help the child learn to slow down their breath to create the bubble. You can extend the activity by blowing bubbles over the top of your child as they lay on their back and watch the bubbles float down, or they can try to blow them back up to you.

More on: Staying Calm in the Chaos 

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