Simple ideas to promote wellbeing in young kids
If it all gets a little too much, why not try making a ‘Calm Jar’ with your little one?
All you need is an empty clear container with a lid, some warm water, some cooking oil or washing up liquid and some glitter. If you haven’t got glitter, then try some food colouring or paint.
Give it all a good shake and watch.
This calming clip shows you the idea...
Have you ever heard of stress balls?
Pressing, pulling, pushing and twisting dough can be a great stress reliever for you and your little one.
Here’s a simple no cook, no salt ‘Play Dough’ recipe for you to try.
All you need is 3 cups flour, 1 cup cold water and 1 tablespoon oil.
Mix it all together, and there you have it!
The recipe is completely natural, using taste-safe ingredients, so rather yummily, you could bake it and eat it after playing with it, if you don’t want any waste!
Keep calm and Playdough on!
(With thanks to NurtureStore)
Sometimes we might need ways to talk about our feelings, and when some of us might be feeling a bit anxious, it is important to recognise that our little ones might also be sharing these feelings.
Here’s a lovely story called ‘Ruby’s Worry’ that you might like to share with your little one.
It’s possibly a great way to start those discussions.
Self Soothe Box
Why not make a ‘Self Soothe Box’ with your little one?
It can be taken out in times of need, or when they might need a moment to calm down or relax.
All you need is a box or container, and then a range of sensory things to pop inside that will focus their minds.
These could be:
Something to touch (something soft, cuddly, with a comforting texture)
Something to look at (photos of special people/things/pets)
Something that the child likes to smell
Something to hear (a wind-up toy or something with a comforting sound)
(With thanks to Lincolnshire Early Years Alliance for the idea)
Finding My Selfie
We adults have had many, many years to learn how to process our emotions and find the words to express how we are feeling.
On the other hand, our little ones are just beginning to understand that they have big feelings!
‘Finding My Selfie’ is a lovely way to help your little one to recognise different facial expressions, make connections between what they’re feeling and what that might look like, and find the words for those feelings.
All you have to do is, with your little one, make funny, emotional faces and take a selfie.
Then, swipe through the selfies, naming each expression or emotion captured.
Some emotions and feelings that you might like to try: tired, excited, angry, shy, scared, happy, grumpy, curious, worried, calm, sad.
Sometimes, when your little one can’t find the words, using the ‘emotional selfies’ as a prompt can help them show how they might be feeling.
You can find more ideas about how your child's emotions on the CBeebies website.
Raindrops on Roses...
Raindrops on roses…whiskers on kittens...these are a few of my favourite things…
We love how this classic song encourages us all to think about our favourite things when we are worried.
Taking time to talk about the things your little one loves and the people they love is a wonderful way to find out what really comforts them.
What are your little one’s favourite things, places, smells, animals or toys?
You could encourage your little one to talk about their favourite things to wear, or things to eat.
Why not make a little collection to look at together, or even make up your own version of the song?
We like ‘The Worrysaurus’ by Rachel Bright, all about a little worried dinosaur.
This clip is read by Matthew Willsher.
After you’ve shared the story, perhaps you can snuggle up with your little one and talk about any worries they might have.
You might even want to help them make their own little ‘happy tin’ (or box, or bag), just like the dinosaur has in the story. Then, when your little one feels worried, they can reach for their ‘happy items’ inside, to help them with their feelings.
Sometimes when your little one experiences big feelings, they can become overwhelmed.
These feelings can be so hard to cope with, especially when they haven’t yet got the words to explain what’s wrong.
Finding effective ways to help your little one to recognise those moments can be a daily challenge.
Maybe the Hug Jar will help?
Like a Calm Down Bottle, it’s a tool to support your little one with their feelings.
All you need is a jar or container, paper or card, and scissors. First, create lots of hearts to fill your container. Then, when you or your little one feels upset, take a heart out of the jar and give it to the person you’d like a hug from. It’s a way of signalling that it’s time to stop for a moment and share some special time together.
(With thanks to the Homegrown Friends website for the inspiration)