De-Stress Technique: Repeating Soothing Words
Why it works: This is the kid version of a mantra—a “tool of the mind” (one translation of the Sanskrit mantra) that involves the calming repetition of certain special words. When the mind can give one phrase undivided attention, it’s less likely to bounce around. (This is similar to what happens when you give a puppy a chew toy.)
How to teach it: Together with your child, say, “I am,” then take a breath together; after you both exhale, say, “Relaxed,” says Sparrowe. With younger kids, you can repeat this aloud a few times. Eventually, your child can say the mantra silently, so she can use it anytime she needs to feel calmer.
Times to try it: Upsets on the playground; dentist’s appointments; right before a piano recital or the SATs.