Are your kids struggling to process and manage worries and anxieties right now? I know mine definitely are, and with all that’s happened to disrupt their ‘normal’ this year it’s not surprising, is it?!
Even when life is relatively normal, kids can struggle with worries and negative emotions, and I’ve found that having some resources to hand can really help. We’ve been using Create Your Own Calm, which helps support kids’ emotional health and teach them practical ways to feel calm.
Create Your Own Calm
Create Your Own Calm is a practical and fun activity book aimed at 6-12 year olds. It contains 50 activities, all backed by science, and designed to support kids with their big feelings and develop ways they can help themselves to feel calmer. It’s written by parenting author Becky Goddard-Hill, who is also a former social worker and child development trainer – so you can be confident that the activities and the principles behind them are grounded in expertise.
The book is divided into sections, including Thoughts & Feelings, Relationships, Mind & Body, Creativity, Words, Nature and Simplicity. Each activity starts with an inspiring quote, takes you through the activity itself, and explains the science behind how it works. Kids can work through the activities in order, or dip in and out. The tone is lively and fun, and the layout is bright and engaging – perfect for the target age range.
Here’s the link to the book if you’d like to order a copy.
Becky asked me to choose an activity from the book to share with you – naturally I went for one with a gardening theme! Here it is.
Grow a pizza garden
“To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” – Alfred Austin (Poet and Journalist)
It is hard to be worrying about the past or stressing about the future when you are gardening. Studying a tiny worm wiggling, or breathing in the scent of home grown tomatoes, are great ways to feel more peaceful.
Being absorbed in what’s happening NOW is called being mindful and it helps you clear your mind and deeply relax.
The scientific bit
Scientists found that being outside raises Vitamin D levels in our bodies and this, as well as the light from being outside, triggers a positive boost in our moods.
One Dutch study found that people who gardened for 30 minutes had lower cortisol (stress) levels in their bodies than people who read indoors.
It’s really good to garden.
Activity: Grow a pizza garden
This is great fun because you get to cook and eat what you grow.
You don’t need a lot of space, just some soil and an area you can call your own – perhaps a window box, tub container or a corner of your garden.
If you don’t have the space, why not ask at school if you can do this as a class project?
You will need:
- Tomato plants
You can grow the plants from seed or you can buy small plants (plug plants) that have already started growing.
1) If you’re growing the plants from seed, follow the instructions on the seed packet for getting them started.
2) Once your seedlings are big enough, or if you are using plants you have bought, add enough soil to your container so that there is space at the top for planting the plants.
3) Take your plants carefully out of their pots and if you can see the roots, gently ease them apart.
4) Place your plants in the container on top of the soil, and space them out so they have room to grow.
5) Once you have placed your plants, add more soil around the roots, making sure to cover all the roots and fill in the spaces between the plants. Pat the soil down gently but firmly so that your plants are upright and secure.
6) Put your container somewhere sunny and water your plants regularly.
7) If you have lots of space, you could even making your planting LOOK like a pizza – you simply make a circle out of stones in the soil then divide the area up into “pizza slice” wedges using string. Plant the different pizza ingredients in each “slice”.
Create your own calm… by growing your own food.
This is such a fun kids gardening activity – and a perfect way to promote calm thoughts and mindfulness by engaging with nature.
I think Create Your Own Calm is a fantastic little resource to have on-hand for those inevitable times when my kids struggle with their emotions. It’s also a brilliant activity book that the whole family can benefit from. I’ve been doing the activities with my nine year old, and I think I’ve got just as much out of it as she has!
Create Your Own Calm book tour
To celebrate the book’s launch, Becky has organised a virtual book tour. For each day of the tour, a blogger will be previewing an activity from the book, so you can find out more about the different tools and ideas and maybe have a go yourself. Here’s a list of all the bloggers taking part:
Red Ted Art: How to make a Relaxation jar
Penny Reads: Encourage Reading Activity / Book Bingo
Rainy Day Mum: Stress Less Yoga for Kids
Much More With Less: Nature Crafts
Emma and 3: Making a calm down kit
Thrifty Mum: Cloud Watching
Becky has also co-written a happiness boosting book aimed at 7-11 year olds called Create Your Own Happy. You can find out more about it here. And if you’re a parent of teenagers you might like to check out my post on Be Happy Be You too.
What’s your favourite way to create your own calm?