Grounding ourselves at the start of a session outdoors helps to relax the body and mind and activate the senses.
Here are some ideas to try.
- Five Senses Exercise: Encourage your child to name five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. This exercise helps them focus on their immediate surroundings.
- Breathing Exercises: Teach your child simple deep-breathing exercises. For example, have them take a deep breath in through the nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through the mouth. You can count to help them regulate their breath.
- Mindful Coloring: Give your child a coloring book and crayons or colored pencils. Ask them to focus on the colors, the feel of the crayons in their hands, and the motion of coloring. This can be a calming and grounding activity.
- Nature Connection: If possible, take your child outside and ask them to sit quietly, observing the natural environment. Encourage them to notice the sounds, textures, and smells around them. This helps them feel connected to the present moment.
- Breathing with a Stuffed Animal: Have your child lie down with a stuffed animal on their belly. Instruct them to take slow, deep breaths, watching how the stuffed animal rises and falls with each breath. This can be a fun way to teach diaphragmatic breathing.
- Counting Objects: Ask your child to find and count a specific number of objects in their environment, like five red objects, four blue objects, or three circular objects. This exercise keeps them focused on the present and engaged in a task.
- Emotion Cards: Create emotion cards with various faces depicting different emotions (happy, sad, angry, scared, etc.). Have your child pick a card and talk about a time when they felt that emotion. This can help them identify and process their feelings.
- Guided Imagery: Use guided imagery to help your child create a mental safe place. Ask them to close their eyes and imagine a calm and peaceful location, such as a beach or a forest. Describe this place together, engaging their senses in the visualization.
- Yoga for Kids: There are kid-friendly yoga routines and videos available online that incorporate mindfulness and grounding techniques. These can help children relax and become more aware of their bodies.
- Bubble Breaths: Blow soap bubbles with your child and encourage them to take deep breaths in and out as they watch the bubbles float away. This can be a playful way to practice mindful breathing.
Remember that children may have varying preferences for grounding exercises, so it’s a good idea to try different activities and see which ones resonate best with your child. Additionally, modelling these practices yourself can encourage your child to participate and learn how to manage their emotions effectively.