By Rachel Melhorn, LCSW, Registered Play Therapist
Here at Full Circle, we talk a lot about “big feelings.” When we use this term, we are referring to grieving children’s struggles with emotional regulation. This may look like an extended tantrum, uncontrollable crying, fit of anger, or bout of anxiety.
Grounding techniques are mindfulness strategies that support children in regulating these “big feelings” by helping kids to bring awareness back to their environment.
Try out these strategies at home for the first time when children are in a state of calm. Familiarity with these strategies will be helpful when you are supporting them in using these tools when they are having big feelings.
Engage the Senses
Bring your attention to the space you are in and share with me:
5 things you can see
4 things you can hear
3 things you can touch
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
Take turns with your child pretending that you are a mime and follow each other’s actions. Here are some ideas: wave your hands back and forth, bring your finger to your nose, touch your hands to your toes, bring your hands to the sky. Take any movements that feel fun and freeing in your body!
Bubbles are a great way to ground while also practicing deep breathing! Take a deep breath in through your nose and then a deep breath out through your mouth to blow bubbles. Watch the bubbles until they fall all the way to the ground.
Take a breath in and use your breath out to blow on your pinwheel to make it spin! Notice the difference in how the pinwheel spins or how you feel after you breathe quickly or breathe slowly. How does your body feel?
Be a Tree
(taken from the Yoga Pretzel Deck by Tara Gardner & Leah Kalish)
- “I send roots deep down into the earth”. Take your shoes off and plant your feet in the grass. Feel the earth beneath your toes.
- “I am focused and stable.” Bring your palms to your chest. Tuck one foot inside the opposite leg
- “I reach high into the sky.” Stretch your arms out like branches.
- “I am a beautiful tree.” Bring your hands together above your heart. What kind of tree are you? Feel yourself growing. Bend with the wind. You are strong enough to weather any storm!
These grounding techniques are some great ways to help your child regulate his BIG feelings.