Calm down tools kids can use anywhere when they feel upset. Help kids manage their emotions with a set of calm down tools. Calm down techniques including magical calm down picture cards for kids that work no matter if you’re at home, school, the library or on an airplane! Calm down tools help kids build their self-regulatory muscle and find tools that resonate individually with them, including mindful breathing patterns and calming strategies.
Calming tools are wonderful and helpful for kids who have trouble expressing big emotions in appropriate ways or who are quick to anger. Calming down when you’re upset is difficult for anyone, but most of all children. They require guidance about how to cool off and time to develop calm down tools that work uniquely for them.
There are many great ways for kids to calm down when they’re upset at home. Yoga, creating a designated calm down spot in your home, finding ways to decompress and using sensory items are great tools to chill out.
What happens when you’re away from home and don’t have a sensory bottle or your go-to calm down spot available?
These calming tools are great for kids to do anywhere whether it’s in the car, at home, at the doctor’s office, Grandma’s house or on an airplane when you’re stuck for the next four hours.
Don’t forget to grab the free printable with these 10 calm down tools at the end of this article!
Calm Down Tools for Kids to Use Anywhere
Calm down tools help kids build their self-regulatory muscle and find tools that resonate individually with them, including mindful breathing patterns and calming strategies.
1. Use the 3:1 Calm Down Formula
The 3:10 calm down formula helps kids refocus their emotions and body for at minimum 30 seconds. The easy and calming activity is effective at wiping away anger and intense emotions and help little bodies come down from code red without a battle.
Here’s how the 3:10 Calm Down Formula works:
- Guide your child through this several times until they get the hang of it and can recognize the technique when you stop them and say, “let’s do the 3:10 calm down trick for a second.”
- First, place one or both hands on the tummy and take three deep breaths, feeling the stomach expand as you inhale deeply and then slowly as you blow out the air slowly.
- Next, have your child close their eyes and count to ten slowly. Once they reach ten, while keeping the eyes closed, take another deep breath and count backwards from 10 to 1. Open the eyes.
- The best approach is to use the 3:10 approach before the child has lost control, and when they feel their body giving off warning signs it’s buzzing from anger.
This is a very simple calm down technique but it gives children – and adults – time to slow their body down and redirect their focus from anger to relaxation.
2. Put on Music or Sing a Song
Children find music comforting and helps them get out of an angry place, but when they become participants and start singing, this can wipe away the tension too. Most parents have a phone with them and I bet it’s loaded with music, just be sure to keep calm tunes handy and ready to go!
3. Put Your Hands in Your Pockets
Kids who have a difficult time keeping their hands to themselves – whether it’s directed at another person or meant to destroy or hurt an object – placing their hands in their pockets, intertwining fingers together and pretending they’re stuck, clapping or sitting on them, stops them from acting out and keeps their hands calm.
4. Ask for a Hug
Asking for a 20-second hug from a parent, sibling or comforting figure can go a long way in calming down an upset child.
5. Count as High as You Can Go
Counting is a great way to shift a child’s focus and calm down enough to control breathing. See how high they can count.
6. Blow into Your Hands
When kids blow into their hands, not only are they taking deep breaths, but also the stimulation of warm air on their skin helps to calm them down physically.
7. Close Your Eyes and Think of a Peaceful Place
Ask your child to close their eyes and imagine being somewhere else. It’s a calm, quiet, peaceful place… ask them to describe everything they see and hear and listen as they create a soothing location for themselves to find peace.
8. Draw a Picture of Your Feelings
Have your child draw a picture to describe why they’re upset. The focus will shift to putting effort into the picture and away from big emotion turmoil.
9. Repeat a Mantra
Repeat a calm phrase such as, “I am calm,” or “My body is calm.” Personalize your mantra to something your child feel comfortable saying and will be helpful.
10. Write it Out
If your child is old enough, ask them to write a story about their feelings covering all the bases about why they feel the way they do, what prompted the anger, a solution and happy ending. See how creative they can be putting their feelings to words!
11. Use Calm Down Cards
Calm Down cards are a great tool to give kids options about how they can calm down, and when they have the choice of what they want to do, it’ll help them calm down even faster!
Print this set of calm down cards, laminate if you can, and let your child shuffle through the 45 cards until they find a solution they’re comfortable with.
There are 45 kid-tested methods that will help them cool off when big emotions take hold!
The best part?
With consistent practice of using the calm down card set, kids will turn to their set of calm down cards without any prompting from an adult and begin to self-manage their big feelings all on their own!
To Review Calm Down Tools for Kids…
Navigating your child’s anger and big emotions can be a challenge and feel stressful, but test out these calm down ideas to find what works best for your child and relieves some of the tension.
Additional Calm Down Resources
- Create a Quiet Spot at Home For Your Child to Calm Down
- Helping Kids with Transitions: Switching Gears without Tears
- Navigating the After-School Meltdown: How to Help Your Child
- 6 Ways to Help Children Identify & Express Their Emotions
- Help Your Children Understand Emotions and Develop the Emotional Intelligence They Need