Christmas can be a tough time for kiddos. Especially for our more sensitive little people – toddlers and preschoolers, the kids who experience anxiety, the ones who struggle with emotion regulation, the kids with sensory processing difficulties and special needs. Christmas can be hugely overwhelming for many of our little ones.
And of course, I created the Mindfulness for Children to help you set up a calming, quiet space for your kids and to teach them how to self regulate when they experience big emotions. But Christmas, with its often over the top sensory experiences, and extra social expectations and obligations can bring its own unique set of challenges. And I’m frequently asked – what can I do when we’re not in the house and we can’t use our calm down space? How do I help my child then?
So I’ve put together something a bit special to help your kids (and you!) manage some of those BIG feelings that come up more often at Christmas time. Mindfulness for Children. This kit is designed to support your child to process their big emotions during the holiday season. It contains Christmas themed activities and resources that your child will love to use AND, it’s a bit smaller than the original calm down kit, because it’s designed to be more portable.
Inside of your Mindful Little Christmas Mindfulness for Children, you’ll find a range of printable resources designed to help your child understand and manage their feelings. All printables listed below are included in your kit, as well as full instructions and recipes needed for making the sensory tools. Below is the list of items I recommend you keep in your kit (this is what we currently have in our own kit too!). You’ll also find this list inside of your kit along with a few more ideas that you and your child might find useful.
This Mindfulness for Children is designed to go along with you wherever you go! Simply print off your feelings cards and calm down cards, cut them out (laminate them if you’d like), and pop them on a binder ring. You might also like to keep a small box or bag in your car or handbag to pop your breathing boards, play dough, stress ball and/or calm down jar into. Then, when your child is feeling overwhelmed or needs a bit of a break, you have some tools on hand to help them out.
To introduce your Christmas Mindfulness for Children to your child, explain that the tools can be used when they are feeling a bit worried, scared, anxious or overwhelmed. I recommend talking to them about how they might feel when this happens. What will they notice in their body? How will they behave when they start to feel anxious or nervous? What might other people notice? This will help them develop self awareness so they can recognise the need to use their tools. In the meantime, it will be your job to recognise that they are becoming dysregulated and suggest they use their calm down kit, so it will be helpful for you to have a think about what their early warning signs might be.
Remember, a dysregulated child has no access to the thinking part of their brain. Once they are in fight or flight mode, they are simply trying to remain safe, so this is not the time to be introducing new tools or trying to talk logic to them. Be sure to introduce the tools to them when they are calm, and practice them over and over until they feel comfortable and understand how to use them!
You’ve noticed your child starting to become dysregulated. Now what do you do?
Above all else, it’s important to remember that self regulation is a developmental skill that needs to be learned over time. We cannot teach kids to regulate before they are developmentally ready, any more than we can teach them how to walk when they are 3 months old. All kids will reach this milestone in their own time. Our job is simply to support them, and to support their nervous system as they learn. We do this by providing them wth the tools and resources they need, AND by providing them with the connection they need from us. Kids learn to self regulate by experiencing co-regulation over and over again. When we repeatedly lend our children our own calm, we help them find their own.