Physical activities to help anxiety and focus

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Sometimes kids just get the case of the “wiggles”. They can’t sit still or continuously fidget with their clothing, hands, or paper. All my kids go through moments where they just can’t focus on the task at hand. Sometimes it is very frustrating, but then I take a deep breath and remember sometimes lack of focus can be a physical issue and certain movements can help with anxiety and focus. Of course, these exercises don’t work overnight but do help with regular repetition. 

Standing on Tippy Toes 

Balance requires our brain and body to work together to sense portion and respond. This means many areas of the body and brain have to work together! 

Have your kiddo stand on his or her tippy toes for 5-7 seconds and then stand regularly then repeat ten times breathing deeply with each repetition. 

Lion Pose

Have the child open his or her mouth with their tongue out in an “ah” motion like going to the doctor or for more fun he or she can roar like a lion. 

Hand Sequence Tap

I used to do this naturally when I was stressed and didn’t know it was actually helping! Have the child tap his or her fingers to their thump from index to pinky then reverse. 

Each finger relates to a different area of the brain and helps awaken the reflexes. 

Starfish Exercise 

Sit on the edge of a chair cross your left leg over your right leg and cross your right arm over your left knee and your left arm across your right. Hold for 5-7 seconds. Then pop open into a “starfish” position: hands like a V and legs like a downward V. The switch the sides of legs and arms that were on top and repeat. Have your kid replicate your actions. 

This exercise allows for more focus, less anxiety, regulation of emotions and impulse control. 

These activiites are often easier with the little ones because it seems like a game, I’ll be honest my preteens with push back on these activities until they realize, it’s working! Occasionally I’ll even catch my preteens doing the hand exercises on their own. Cue the evil villain laugh because that lets me know, I won. 

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