Annie's Animals - Story and Resources
Annie's Animals is a story to help children manage the range of emotions we are all experiencing during the lockdown. It is meant as a conversation starter between parents and children, as an activity guide, and as a resource to support children to use techniques that help when they are feeling difficult emotions.
Use this to help your child recognise how they feel. This is one of the first steps in being able to manage our emotions.
Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness can increase our mood. Here is a list of ideas that your child may choose to engage in if they are wanting to feel happier. Also engaging in fun enjoyable activities that spark joy can lift a low mood (e.g. watching a funny cartoon, doing silly walking styles around the house, dancing to favourite music etc.).
Pinwheel for Deep Breathing
Deep breathing helps us calm down and relax. An easy way to help children engage in deep breathing is by making a pinwheel and using long deep belly breaths to make the pinwheel spin. See the video below for how to make a pinwheel. Alternatively, try blowing bubbles with bubble mixture and a bubble wand.
Download the Stop, Breathe, Think KIDS App
This app has lots of great techniques for children to manage their emotions and is presented in a child-friendly format. You'll find this app in the app or play store.
Sometimes worries can go around and around and around in our heads. Writing them down and getting rid of them can relieve us of these worries. Making a worry monster and then writing down the worries and giving them to the monster to eat them can help children identify their worries, let go of the worries, and detach from their anxiety. Watch the video below for advice on how to make one!
Making gloop/slime is a fun activity that can stop boredom, increase imagination and concentration, and can also act as a relaxing tactile experience. Click Here for how to Make Gloop
Exercise can increase our mood and is extremely important as a foundation for our mental health. It can reduce feelings of boredom and low motivation too! Click Here for Physically Active Play - Korikori
Idea for an Emotions Toolbox
You could put all the ideas together along with favourite items and calming objects in a box for your child to access when they need to. Alternatively, watch the video below for how to make an "emotions catcher". You can place your child's favourite ways of managing their emotions inside so they can have one place to go to remind themselves of skills they can use. I recommend making more than one and having them in different places in the house.
As always, don't forget to praise your child when you see them doing well or if they acknowledge their emotions, and attempt to use their skills. This will increase their belief that they can manage emotions as well as teach them that all emotions are okay to feel.
The lockdown has been tough on everyone, and we all have better days and not so good days.
I hope these techniques are helpful in your home.