Skip to content
  • Stress and anxiety Stress and anxiety
  • Strategies and tips Strategies and tips
  • Parenting Parenting
  • Managing emotions Managing emotions

Self-soothing techniques for kids

By Kate Kelly

All kids feel anxious or stressed sometimes, like when they’re getting ready for a big test. But kids who learn and think differently may feel stress more often or more intensely. Self-soothing techniques can help them relax and regain their sense of control. 

One way kids learn to self-soothe is by watching how the adults around them deal with stress. So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, say something like, “I’ve got so much to do today. I need to take a minute to do my jumping jacks. Then I’ll feel better.” Ask kids to join you.

Dive deeper

Signs of stress in kids

Some kids may not ask for help. That’s why it’s important to watch for signs of stress. These include:

  • Sudden dramatic change in attitude or in how much effort they put into school

  • Refusing to go to school or do chores

  • Disruptive behavior

  • Having outbursts or acting younger than their age

  • Withdrawing from family or friends

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Eating too much or not eating enough

  • Trouble concentrating

When kids feel stress for an extended period of time, they may have what’s called chronic stress. And that can lead to anxiety. 

Learn about the connection between stress and anxiety .

Mindfulness and mantras

Mindfulness helps kids focus on the present and not let thoughts, emotions, or trouble with self-control get in the way. It often involves breathing exercises. When kids concentrate on each breath, in and out, it can help them self-soothe.

Another way to self-soothe is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Help kids come up with empowering phrases or mantras they can say over and over again to crowd out negative thoughts. “I can do it” or “I am strong” are good choices.

Learn more about mindfulness and kids who learn and think differently .

Next steps

Self-soothing can help kids calm themselves down when they get upset. This is an important part of self-regulation, which helps kids manage their emotions and behavior when faced with a tough situation.

Related topics

Stress and anxiety Stress and anxiety Strategies and tips Strategies and tips Parenting Parenting Managing emotions Managing emotions

Did you know?

Many people have anxiety at some point in their lives — including kids. But people who learn and think differently are more likely to have anxiety than other people.

More on: Stress and anxiety

Top tips for managing screen time: Keep devices in a common area, turn off screens an hour before bedtime, and create a screen time contract.

More on: Strategies and tips

“If people could look beyond the challenges, they’d see the person I see. He’s funny and smart. He’s loyal, almost to a fault. He picks himself up when he falls, and he tries again.”

More on: Parenting

Tell us what interests you

See your recommendations

Tell us what interests you

Select the topics you want to learn more about

See your recommendations

Share

Did you know we have a community app for parents?

Download Wunder on the App Store

Share Self-soothing techniques for kids

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom

Share Self-soothing techniques for kids

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Email
  • Text Message
  • Coming soonGoogle Classroom