1. Try a sun salutation
When your kid wakes up, either in the morning or after a nap, have them stand up straight with their arms at their sides, then ask them to breathe in and reach up to the sky, and turn their head from side to side. Relax everything and do this two more times.
2. Silent meditation
Ask your kid to stay quiet for a full minute and to notice all the sounds around them. Try this anytime—when you’re outside playing, on a walk, or at the dinner table.
3. Slow eating
At snack time, challenge your kid to take one bite of their strawberry or cracker and really think about what it feels like and tastes like in their mouth. Encourage them to fully swallow the whole bite before taking another.
4. Noticing the new
On a walk home around the neighbourhood, look around together for things you haven’t noticed before—like a bird’s nest in a tree or a bike leaning against a house.
5. All the feels
When you’re making dinner, set up a sensory bin on the counter or floor and fill it with rice, beans and uncooked macaroni noodles. Ask them if they like the way it feels when they move their hands through the bin or let the dried items fall through their fingers.
6. Snow break
During a transition—say, from the iPad to dinner table—get your kid to lie down on the ground, close their eyes and imagine a light snowfall drifting down onto them. When they’re “all covered with snow,” it’s time to jump up, shake it off and head to the next activity.
7. Gratitude gab
At dinner or before bed, ask your kid to name one thing they really enjoyed or appreciated that day.
8. Bubble bath
Have a bottle of bubbles on hand near the bathtub, and gently blow them at your kid. Encourage them to focus on the bubbles by sticking out their index finger and popping as many as they can.
9. Bedtime bliss
To calm your child down before bed, guide them through a body relaxation exercise. Ask them to pay attention to, and relax, their toes, knees, thighs, etc.—all the way up to the jaw and forehead.
10. Stuffie breaths
Deep breaths can help calm a kid down, but they need to practise them when they’re not upset. During playtime, have your kid lie down with their stuffie on their belly. Tell them to breathe in through their nose and let the breath fill their belly, then exhale through their mouth. The stuffie will ride up and down as they breathe.