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Grounding ourselves 

When we take the time to practice and learn calming stratagies it is easier to find calm when those big emotions sail in

Firstly, the science...

In moments of overwhelming stress, panic, and that swirl of our fight, flight, or freeze response, having quick go-to strategies can be a game-changer. These little tricks aren't about avoiding big emotions or being scared of them. They're like anchors that help our brains shift from "it's all too much" to "I've got this!". When we practise these strategies and become confident with them when those overwhelming feelings kick in we’re far more likely to be able to regulate our emotions.

Why this activity?

This activity allows tamariki to add strategies to their calm down tool box and creates an opportunity to practise these strategies when calm, making them familiar and easier to use when things are tough

You'll need

What to do

Start off by encouraging tamariki to firstly be kind to themselves, and perhaps come up with an iti self-encouraging mantra that resonates. Kōrero about what these might be.

Then have a kōrero as a class brainstorming the times when we might get overwhelmed or panicked. Then, use any or all of these grounding activities to support moving from chaos to calm:

  • Deep Puku Breathing: Count your breaths and say to yourself, "I'm breathing in" as you inhale, and "I'm breathing out" as you exhale. It helps us focus and gives our minds a distraction.

  • Feel Your Feet: Tune into the sensation of your feet on the floor. It's like giving your brain a gentle nudge towards peace.

  • Explore Something: Pick up an object nearby and really examine it. Feel its texture, inspect its details. This curious exploration can help quiet our minds.

  • Engage Your Senses: Look around and notice what you can see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. Grounding ourselves in our environment helps us feel safer.

  • Bi-lateral Stimulation: Move your body with left-right motions, like walking, or giving yourself a butterfly hug (cross your arms bringing them into you so your hands are on your chest and tap left, right repeating). This supports concentration, evokes a sense of calm and forces your brain to focus on something else. 

  • Look Outside: Nature has a magical way of soothing us. Take a moment to see what’s out the window and let your senses come alive. 

Come back to these across a few weeks, and remember that when we practise these strategies we become confident in our ability to use them - ultimately making it easier for tamariki when they do have those big feelings come on.

Whānau engagement

Try sharing our Tiny things we can do when it feels really stressy handout with whānau and encourage tamariki to continue practising their new calm techniques at home with whānau, perhaps even teaching them to those at home. This will be great for supporting them to further understand these techniques, as we all know when ākonga are able to explain something, and teach something, they understand it more fully.

And to add to this...

To support your tamariki to continue discovering ways to regulate their emotions try our activity Finding calm

Curriculum Links

Health and PE Curriculum

Personal Health and physical development: A1 - Personal growth and development 

Personal Health and physical development: A3 - Safety management

We'd like to say ngā mihi nui

To the awesome team at Real Parents who supported us with this mahi. Real Parents facilitates parenting programmes across Canterbury as well as nationally via Zoom. With the team having a background in psychology, social work, and education they also provide one-on-one coaching services to support parents who are struggling or looking to find some fresh strategies to support their tamariki. 

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