Sometimes we just need some go-to strategies to support us to feel calm in tricky or challenging moments... here's some ideas.
Firstly, the science...
When we're feeling stressed, our body's "fight or flight" response kicks in, which can cause a bunch of physical symptoms like increased heart rate and breathing, and tense muscles. By using calming strategies like deep breathing or mindfulness, we can activate our body's relaxation response, which counteracts those physical symptoms and helps us feel relaxed. Studies have shown that regularly practising relaxation techniques can even lead to long-term changes in the brain, improving our ability to handle stress and manage our emotions. So, it's not just a matter of feeling better in the moment - having some reliable calming strategies can have long-term benefits for our mental and physical health too!
Why this activity?
This activity supports tamariki to learn calming strategies leading to better management of their emotions. Finding your way to calm down is a journey, and it may involve trying different activities and techniques to discover what works best.
Print the 20 Ways to Find Calm Again coloring sheet and get the pencils, crayons or felts out.
What to do
Kōrero around how we all get overwhelmed or have big feelings sometimes and that it's okay to feel this way. Explain that when we have these feelings it is important, we're able to find our calm again, continue this kōrero with a bit of a class brainstorm of all the things we like to do to find our calm again.
You could pair this kōrero with a great pukapuka which covers themes of finding calm and mindfulness, ones we love are ‘Just Breathe’ by Jen Sievers and ‘Let it Flow’ by Rebecca Lipp and Craig Phillips.
Give each ākonga a 20 Ways to Find Calm Again poster and spend time coloring this in. Tamariki might reflect on the different ideas and note which ones might support them best. Or tamariki might choose to create their own posters.
You might come back together to kōrero about the most popular calming strategies tamariki think will work for them – perhaps try one too!
Display one of the posters in your classroom for tamariki to refer to (perhaps in a quiet spot). Encourage tamariki to take their posters home and explore more of this kōrero with whānau.
Encourage tamariki to kōrero with their whānau about how they find their calm and suggest they could take their 20 Ways to Find Calm Again posters home and share some ideas that were had in class.
Sending home, the 20 Ways to Find Calm at Night PDF can be a hauora enhancing way to look out for whānau as an often much needed reminder of how they can find calm too!