As jolly as holiday time can be, it can be equally stressful; rushing to give, receive, go from here to there (then there again and oh sometimes here and there at the same moment). As all parents are aware, everything you do is perceived and mimicked by your little one. The ability to keep calm is no exception. Children easily pick up parents stress, which can wind up manifesting into situations that are all the more stressful. Stop the snowball before it becomes an avalanche.
When toting both children and gifts this holiday, keeping calm is a must, no matter how far your journey may be.
Cubic Frog® always recommends having an arsenal of fun learning games, books, worksheets, etc at hand to keep kids amused and occupied. But for those travel times when nothing seems to be working, we’ve got a few more creative ideas for you to try. Although more non-traditional, give these 3 easy practices a jo-jo-jo go and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
3 Creative Ways to Calm Kids
All our recommendations are for both parent and child because, as we stated before, the first step to a calm child is you yourself being able to be calm. So, take a deep breath.
Instruct your child to close their eyes, and if you’re not the one driving, do the same. Tell your little one to focus on the sounds of their own breathe. Begin by counting to twenty, taking a breathe with each number. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, filling your whole belly with air and exhaling slowly. Don’t worry if your child giggles at first. Next count backwards from 20 doing the same. We guarantee in a mere 40 seconds, there will be a shift in both yours and your kids energy. Repeat this process as many times as necessary or desired.
For an even stronger exercise, do your 40 count breathing and after guide your child to listen very closely and when they hear you make a soft noise, to raise their arm. Obviously this exercise works best in a relatively small, quiet area. But, it’s almost foolproof in, at the very least, distracting children from the initial stressor and allowing movement towards a more tranquil mind-space.
The healthful partner to proper oxygen circulation in the body is good blood-flow, which requires body movement. Kids need to be able to move, but in certain situations during travel movement can be quite limited. The trick here is knowing how to move, and Yoga is an age-old technique for maximizing movement potential.
The idea of not being able to move indefinitely, can in itself cause anxiety for little ones. So make sure to let kids know they can move, but should maneuver in these specific manners. And if there’s an ETA, it’s always helpful to give children this information as well.
Yoga cards for kids make packing yoga a totally portable, interactive game. Our favorite small space yoga poses are: Seated Twist, Knees-to-Chest, Eagle arms (arms crossed out in front of you), or Seated Forward Bend. There’s also a whole set of yoga poses solely based around hand/arm movement you can find here.
Study after study has shown that although sugar does not cause hyperactivity, it can seriously contribute to emotional meltdowns. The problem is, when a large quantity of sugar is consumed at once, blood sugar spikes very, very quickly and then goes down just as rapidly. Low blood sugar can can cause similar effects to those of being tired–crankiness, shakiness, and anxiety, and leaves the body craving more sugar in order to raise levels again.
Plan ahead by limiting the amount of processed or added sugar that is consumed the day before and of travels or an especially stressful event. Pack snacks like fruit and veggies that have no added sugar and snacks that are very high in protein like nuts, eggs, yogurt (with no added flavoring), and cheese.
We know during the holiday time of brownies, sugarplums, candy canes, and frosted everything, it can be tough to keep kids away form the sugar. So, make time and space for treats after travels are through.
Do you have any other creative way to calm kids? Please share!