Children’s Mental Health Week – Grounding Techniques

Grounding is a powerful way to interrupt anxious thoughts in the present moment! It is an ideal way to deal with children’s anxieties and worries. As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is understandable that children have absorbed extra worry from the media and the people around them. Perhaps they have experienced loss or illness in their own family, a school friend or a person they consider as a role model.

Although talking, journaling and other activities such as keeping worry dolls are a tried and tested way to overcome negative feelings, there are other practical ways to stay grounded.

5-4-3-2-1 Senses

Exercising the senses helps children to stay grounded. Depending on age this is an effective means to halt thought streams

  • 5 things you see
  • 4 things you hear
  • 3 things you smell
  • 2 things you can touch
  • 1 thing you taste

Or try an exercise with just ‘sight’.

  • 5 colors I see
  • 4 shapes I see
  • 3 soft things I see
  • 2 people I see
  • 1 book I see

ABC in the room

This exercise will get students connected with the here and now and the place where they are right now.

Be a tree

Few things are more grounded or rooted than a tree. “My feet are firmly planted” or “I can feel the ground under my feet.”

Power Hug

Firm pressure is reassuring and great for grounding. “I am safe now.” The child places their left hand on their right shoulder for a tap and then their right hand on their left shoulder for another tap. Then squeeze into a self hug and affirm – tap, tap, squeeze, affirm.

Focus on an object

Noticing colour, texture of various items.

Here & now hand trace

Child traces a hand on paper. They can write down within the outline things they see in their surroundings.


Students list facts about the present moment:

  • My name is…
  • I am in…
  • Today is…
  • The season is…
  • The weather is…
  • I am wearing…

Dress to express

This activity is currently being promoted online to help grounding and bring a bit of fun into Children’s Mental Health Week.

Bringing children into the present moment helps reduce worries about the future and anxieties based on past experiences. Creating a safe environment, building on positive outcomes and helping reduce an escalation into additional worry are all helpful ways to keep children grounded.

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