The Story of Calm

  • Time Length
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    < 1 hour

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
    Shape Created with Sketch.


Question and Wonder:

What happened before things blew up?

What happened during your scuffle?

What happened after?

Imagine and Design:

Narrate what you noticed: “I noticed you were really upset when your sister took your toy.  You were crying and hit her.”

Affirm the feelings and acknowledge behavior: “Its ok to be angry but it wasn’t ok to hit your sister.”

Narrate what you noticed next:  “You and I sat together for a minute, which helped you calm your body and catch your breath.  Then you apologized to your sister.”

Affirm feelings positive strategies: “Sometimes its so hard to get calm, and I’m glad I was close by and you had a chance to practice breathing.

Test and Discuss:

You might keep a running list of the strategies your child successfully uses to calm.  Brainstorm strategies and add other things to try to your list.  Test them out.  Keep updating and modifying.  Try strategies yourself, modeling calming techniques and narrating them for your child.

Try these calming strategies:

“blowing up the balloon” – hold your hands in front of your mouth like you are about to blow up a balloon.  Then blow, and as you blow spread your hands apart around the imaginary balloon.  When the balloon is as big as it can be, clap your hands and pop the balloon.

“be a pretzel” – wrap your arms and legs tightly around yourself like a pretzel.  When you are as tangled and tight as you can be, squeeze hard then let go.

“take a walk”  – even a short walk usually helps to release tension and steam.

“write a letter or draw” – just the process of scribbling, absent words, can be powerful – and of course having the chance to narrate your own story, in your own words, is great too.

“hug a pillow or stuffed animal” – get a soft, fluffy pillow or a favorite animal to squeeze.

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