Enjoy this quick tip video where you can learn about simple activities you can do at home with your preschool age child to support their social emotional health during this stressful time.
Presented by: Laura L. Bisceglia, MA.Ed, SBL-SDL - CPSE Clinical Supervisor
Hi. My name is Laura Bashelli and I am the preschool clinical supervisor for Achieve Beyond New York and Hudson Valley program. And in my job, I travel to preschools, daycares, homes for our therapists that are working with children in the two-and-a-half to five-and-a-half-year range. So, preschoolers.
And I’ve learned and seen a lot of simple, easy things that parents can do at home to help your child manage big emotions. This time period, definitely, kids have tantrums, they don’t have words to explain maybe how they’re feeling, why they’re feeling a certain way. And I want to give you a few ideas of things that you can make at home or have as a resource to use with your children.
Number one, reading. That is very important for a child in this age group to learn about many things. And one of them includes emotions. There are books that are available either online or at your local library. Books such as Today I feel silly and other moods that make my day by Jamie Lee Curtis. When Sofie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang. And there’ll be a flyer with a lot of these things that I’m mentioning posted along with this video.
Something simple that you can make at home easily using, as you see here, dry pasta, little beads and an empty water bottle, is a sensory bottle. So, this is something that can be used for a child who is feeling a big emotion. And instead of saying, okay, calm down, stop acting that way, you can say, hey, let’s get your calming bottle or your pasta bottle. And something that the child can shake, maybe, to get out that strong anger.
Or, if they’re feeling sad, this is just a water bottle with rainbow looms in it. Little small rubber bands and having them watch them float up and down. And that sort of refocusing of their emotion and their brainpower, while breathing, helps them calm down.
A glitter jar is a useful mindfulness tool. Simple water and glitter in a jar. Again, if you have a child who you think it’s going to be dangerous to have glass, you can have a plastic jar. And the way this works is, the child or you as the adult parent, you take the jar upside down and you direct the child to watch the glitter float slowly down.
And so, this is forcing them to refocus attention but also giving them time to breathe in and out in a calming way. You just have to make sure they don’t throw the jar, right?
Other things that you can have is playing an emotional animals game. You maybe say, okay, let’s act like a happy kangaroo. Sort of pairing an action with an emotion where they have to act it out. You give them the word to label that emotion that they can call upon later. And it’s also a fun way to explore animals and emotions.
Yoga is also an important skill and tool to use with kids for adults, in general, to work on repairing mindfulness with strength and coordination. Having the child stretch up like a big bird or tall as a giraffe. Lots of resources online just to work with the child on using different muscles and also, again, you pair that with breathing.
You want to encourage the child to have self-regulation where maybe if they’re feeling upset, you direct them to get moving. That’s a great way to increase endorphins that will help them with calming down and feeling better and more centered. Angry, okay, let’s go kick a ball. Do some jumping jacks. Run and play. Jump up and down. You have a strong emotion in your body, let’s release it.
Listening to music. Drawing a picture. Working in a visual of breathing. Saying to the child, okay, let’s sniff in a flower and blow out candles. Okay, well, a child knows that when you blow out birthday candles, you’re really blowing. So, you sniff in a nice scent and you blow out. Instead of just telling the child, okay, let’s breathe in and out. Well, no, a child needs something a little more fun and engaging.
So, hopefully, these are some tools that you can use with your child at home. Easy things that you can make from everyday household objects and really help your child in labeling emotions that they’re feeling and how to handle them. Thank you.