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Brainstem Calmer Activities

Updated: Jun 10

Children’s brains organize from bottom to top, starting from their brainstem and moving to cortical, ‘higher thinking’ areas last. Some children have a hyper-active stress response, and they quickly swing into brainstem survival modes of fight/ flight/ freeze.


One way to help these children move children from these super high anxiety states, to their calming ‘thinking brain’, is patterned, repetitive rhythmic activity.



Some examples of ‘brainstem calmer’ activities are:

  • Walking/ marching

  • Dancing

  • Running

  • Skipping rope

  • Drumming

  • Tapping

  • Breathing

  • Rocking

  • Listening to rhythmic music

  • Bouncing a ball

  • Swimming

  • Chewing

  • Linear swinging

  • Animal grooming

  • Singing

  • Poi spinning (older children)

  • Therapeutic massage

  • Chanting

This information has been adapted from Beaconhouse.org. Check out their website for tons of great information and resources.

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