1. Set up. With everyone sitting in their chairs, turn off the lights, play quiet, calming music and speak in a calm, gentle voice.
2. Belly Breathing – hands on belly. Ask your child to breathe in deeply through their nose, and to breathe out slowly through their mouths, making a “shhhh” sound. You can ask participants to close their eyes if desired. (Sometimes we can coach young people and ourselves to “smell the flower, blow out the candle.”) Do this 5 times.
3. “Self-hug.” Kids can squeeze their own arms and shoulders, or give themselves a hug.
4. Transition out gently. You can end things at this point; whenever you end Chill-Out Exercises, remember to transition out gently. When kids are relaxed and calm, it can be jarring to suddenly turn on the lights and go back to using louder voices. Ease into it!
1. Do the Basic Chill-Out activity First. Always do "Calm Breathing, Calm Body" activities before starting Chair Activities.
2. Set up. Child sits in a chair, and can rest head on table if desired. Make sure there’s space for you to stand behind chair.
For a child who has trouble sitting still to do desk work - try placing a large bag of rice/beans/ equivalent on their lap. This is their “lap buddy" and it helps to calm them and focus (no more than 5 - 20 lbs, based on size of child). It should feel good and comforting, not too heavy.
3. Press on shoulders. Quietly ask “May I touch your shoulders?” – if child agrees, stand behind their chair, place your hands on their shoulders and apply gentle pressure.
4. Squeeze shoulders, backs and arms. If you and child are comfortable, you can gently squeeze their shoulders, backs, and down each arm.
5. Transition out gently. Remember to transition out gently. When kids are relaxed and calm, it can be jarring to suddenly turn on the lights and go back to using louder voices. Ease into it!
If your child has Tactile Defensiveness: If a child is uncomfortable with being moved or touched, see if they will allow you to place your hands on their shoulders, head or hands. Apply gentle pressure without squeezing or moving.