This video short from the NBC Parent Toolkit shows how simple it can be to incorporate calming strategies into your life and your children’s to benefit all in your family. Maurice Elias, Social and Emotional Learning Expert at Rutgers University and I had the chance to talk with NBC in preparing this video and several future social skill videos to come. Check it out and in addition, here are some helpful ways to remind yourself to use calming strategies.
Because we are all busy, it helps to find easy, everyday reminders to prompt us to use calming strategies. For example, I use my first morning coffee as a reminder to take deep breaths to start my day. I also walk outside while I am sipping my coffee and the fresh air reminds me to deep breathe. You can use the opening of your refrigerator door, as the cold air wafts out at you, to remind you of taking deep breaths. I can measure the difference in my patience level and my creative ability on days when I take a moment to deep breathe versus days when I don’t. When you use deep breathing as a calming strategy daily, you will be more likely to remember to use it when you are under acute stress. Find what works for you and see if you don’t notice a difference too.
FOR YOUR CHILD:
The video talks about using bubble blowing with kids to practice deep breathing. In nicer weather, that’s a perfect way to cultivate an important calming habit. In wintertime or during inclement weather, use hot chocolate breathing. Take in the aroma of the chocolate while
you breathe in with your child and then, blow it out to cool it. If you have proactively practiced deep breathing with your child, you only need gently remind or begin modeling it yourself during an upsetting time. Your child will get in the routine of using this self-soothing support anytime and anywhere they need it. And you will feel rewarded with the knowledge that you have helped cultivate a critical self-management skill.