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Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

  • 1.  Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 02-10-2018 02:39 AM
    My students that are 4 and 5 years old are having a hard time calming themselves after a movement activity or transitioning from play centers to gathering on the rug for our next activity. I would like some suggestions on helping them get back control of their bodies.

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    Leonora Possumato
    Lead teacher
    Foundations Preschool
    Annandale NJ
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  • 2.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 02-10-2018 09:59 AM
    I try using a few calming down body movements from yoga, such as the tree, warrior pose, and holding a mountain
    pose (hands in prayer fashion in front of body).  This seems to work for my 3-4 year olds.

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    Jill Greiner
    Pittsburgh PA
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  • 3.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 02-11-2018 12:14 AM
    Hello ,
    There is a couple of things I do in my class like taking 5 deep breaths , sing a very soft soothing song in a whisper so they have to calm down to hear and join in , start to read or recite one of their favorite books or clapping game. There a number of things you could try.

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    Lathanya Campbell
    Student , preschool teacher
    UNCG , Methodist Home for Children
    Raleigh NC
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  • 4.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 02-11-2018 07:07 AM
    I use the Go Noodle mindfulness video. The breathing exercises and calming music are great. I use it after recess too.

    I have had great success with yoga videos in place of an energetic movement song as well. The yoga videos provide the same motor movement needed, but with better body awareness and sensory organization.

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    Jimmy Dunn
    Pre-K 4 & K Students w/ Multiple Disabilities / Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Public School
    Bergen County, NJ
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  • 5.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 02-11-2018 10:28 AM
    Because relaxation is a learned skill -- and a much-needed skill for children's lives these days -- I'm a big believer in using relaxation exercises, not just after movement activities, but also whenever the children need a change of pace. Pretending to be balloons inflating (by breathing in through the nose) and deflating (breathing out slowly through the mouth) is a fun way to inspire deep breathing. Alternately demonstrating statues and rag dolls -- or uncooked and cooked spaghetti -- is a fun way to have the children contract and release muscles. Check out my Youtube video with more ideas for when children need to wind down.  You can find it by searching "When Children to Wind Down" and my name.


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    Rae Pica
    Rae Pica Keynotes & Consulting
    Alexandria VA
    www.raepica.com
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  • 6.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 01-14-2019 11:27 AM
    So many great ideas!In addition to clapping as a transition signal, try a chime. Clapping may continue to engage the sympathetic nervous system, while the chime begins taking us where we want to be, in the parasympathetic nervous system.

    Most young children don't have the executive function control yet to turn the switch to "calm" without grown up help. The idea is to move children from action to calm by first meeting children where they are (possibly high energy or even dys-regulation), and support them (co-regulation) in moving to where you are hoping they might next be (calm, regulated), in baby steps. I love the cooked/uncooked spaghetti (Thanks Rae!).

    At 108 Monkeys we train early childhood educators in mindfulness tools to do exactly this. Another crowd pleaser is Popsicle/Milkshake. Or start them in silly, loud, energetic volcano breaths and slowly move them to quiet volcanos, to silent, still mountains. Suddenly you have a room of still and quiet preschoolers, without ever having to ask them to "be still."


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    Peg Oliveira
    Executive Director
    Gesell Institute of Child Development
    New Haven CT
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  • 7.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 02-11-2018 11:26 AM
    I found that engaging them in a simple breathing/Yoga exercise gathers them together in one (mental) space.

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    Elizabeth Mahon
    Ithaca NY
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  • 8.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 02-11-2018 12:27 PM
    Good Evening,

    Recently I took a Neuroeducation workshop and one of the ideas they gave that seems to work was to put lavender scent in an air diffuser across the classroom. The properties in lavender tend to calm and help a lot in relaxation. Also a little bit of yoga or mindfulness exercises.

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    Stephanie M Rosa Donato
    Puerto Rico
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  • 9.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 01-11-2019 10:01 AM
    Hi! Just checking in to see how any of these suggestions have worked for you.

    I'm a children's yoga and mindfulness teacher and I (of course) second what others have said. I also want to stress the importance of consistency. If we want our breathing practices or movements to be useful tools in situations where we need to cultivate calm, we need to use them regularly as part of the routine.

    I recommend breathing with a visual prop (such as a Hoberman sphere), having a brief series of poses that you do regularly, or using a quiet song (such as "Be Still" by Lianne Bassin). Whatever you do, the more regularly you practice, the more you will see results. And it will be a tool they recognize and are skilled with using when you need to break it out to re-center!

    All the best!

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    Katie Scherrer
    Owner, Connected Communities Consulting
    Founder, Stories, Songs, and Stretches!
    Lexington KY
    www.storiessongsandstretches.com
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  • 10.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 01-13-2019 01:57 PM
    I found this to be difficult when I was student teaching 3-5 year olds last year in the fall. One trick that I noticed worked best was clapping my hands in a pattern, the children would stop what they were doing and clapped there hands back to me. When the children clapped i would say to the children " It is time to clean up and go to the carpet". The children cleaned up and went right over to the carpet.  I would also suggest if you have a laptop or tablet, playing a video for the children to watch until they are calmed down.

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    Cheryl Morris
    Saint Louis MO
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  • 11.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 23 days ago
    I have been using the Calm meditation app with my PreK class.  Calm offers its full subscription free of charge to all teachers. Please google the Calm School Initiative for more information.

    In  my original post I had included the link to the Calm School Initiative without realizing that I was breaking the general rules about posting in Hello.  I can't have to link in my message, because Calm is also a meditation app that one pays a subscription to use.  They do offer it free to all educators, however.  If you are interested in it, please feel free to reach out to me via email.  I am happy to send anyone interested the link to sign up for the free educator Calm School Initiative.  Please see my contact information below.

    It offers meditations specifically for kids- based on different age groups, starting with 3-4 year olds.  In your subscription you are also then able to use it personally for your self, outside of school.  It offers numerous meditations, music for relaxing, sleeping, and focusing, sleep stories to help you fall asleep, and even master classes.

    It really works pretty well with my 4 and 5 year olds.  I use it daily- sometimes before nap, or after coming inside from outdoor play, or after we have had active movement time inside to help calm us.  They have a shorter one that focuses on breathing, and a slightly longer one that has students imaging they are lying on a beach and feeling the warm sun on them- taking breaths through out.  It works really well.  I highly recommend it!

    I also use a Hoberman sphere occasionally to guide us in taking deep breaths.
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    Heidi Van Amburg
    h_vanamburg72@comcast.net
    PreK Teacher
    Crystal MN
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  • 12.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 22 days ago
    THANK you so much-this looks like a perfect thing for all my Y5's. I use meditation myself, personally, and know the benefits. I'm curious to try with all my students.

    Thanks for sharing-I've signed up

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    Catherine Forcillo
    teacher
    Grosse Pointe Public Schools
    Grosse Pointe MI
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  • 13.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 20 days ago
    Good Morning all,
    There are times when the children are so pumped up it's challenging to get them to calm down and sit for circle time.  I too will play relaxing, meditative music for children, but I find that I need to stop trying to talk over them, I give them 5 minutes to chat with friends in the circle. I set a 5 minute visible time, it works.  "Take 5 minutes friends and talk with your friends, then meet me back here when the timer is finished!" ☮️ Maria

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    Maria Rosa-Rockoff
    Easton CT
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  • 14.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 19 days ago
    Sent from my iPhone




  • 15.  RE: Calming kids after doing a movement activity or transition into circle time.

    Posted 22 days ago
    Love seeing all the mediation ideas.

    I like using the Hoberman sphere, the only drawback is that my group will tend to want to each touch and use it so I like to use it during an activity.

    My calming hacks:
    1. Start an exaggerated YAWN-- and get the group yawning. OH, can YOU YAWN?   It's weird but its a normal response for a yawn to " catch on" and the body's natural physiological response is to go into a more calm mode.

    2. I sing in a regular to a quiet voice... "put your hands on the wall on the wall...put your hands on the wall, on the wall.... put your hands on the wall and don't let it fall, put your hands on the wall, on the wall".  -- needless to say just a few rounds and they are lined up against the wall without any fussing.

    3. TAKE 5 Breathe ;  check out YOGAKIDS. This works 80% of the time to calm most of the group.

    4. Gentle rocking motions- swaying from side to side, or tick tock goes the clock with their heads can sometimes be enough to encourage relaxation.

    These do really work for me, and believe me--- I need hacks to calm my group, because I'm a specialty preschool movement teacher (and physical therapist is my "day" job) -- so I'm the one who gets them all hyper (some days) and need to transition them back to another location.

    Good luck! Curious to hear back what you did!





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    Dr. Mary Lynn Hafner, PT, DPT
    myneighborhoodpt@gmail.com
    Physical Therapist. Early Childhood Educator. Author of The Joy of Movement (2019).
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