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Emotional Regulation Activity Ideas: Smell the flowers and bunny breaths

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

This article was written by Kayelene Kerr from eSafeKids.

In this blog I share a fun way to teach children emotional regulation breathing.

Protective Behaviours Perth Western Australia

Emotional Regulation:

Emotional regulation is the ability to exercise control over your own emotional state. In recent decades, researchers have increasingly come to understand how important it is to understand our emotions and handle them in a healthy way. Learning to control which emotions you’ll have, when you’ll have them and how you’ll express them. Teaching children how to regulate strong and overwhelming emotions is an invaluable life skill.

Children may struggle to manage their emotions, as may some adults. When children can’t regulate their feelings, particularly big feelings they may become confused, overwhelmed, agitated or withdrawn. It can adversely affect the child's life and those who live with and support the child.

Emotional regulation is a developmental process and children will often need trusted adults to assist them. This may be referred to as Emotion Coaching.

Emotion coaching is helping children understand the different emotions they experience, why they occur, and how to handle them. This involves tuning into children’s feeling, helping them understand the different emotions they experience, why they occur and how to handle them.

Note: Children who have experienced trauma or other adversity and children with neurological difference may need additional support to develop and practice regulation strategies.


The concept of breathing can be difficult for some children to grasp. Pin wheel flowers can assist you to teach this strategy.

Inhale Smell the flowers - take a breath in through your nose so big it wriggles down to your toes.

Pause and Hold

(Depending on the age of the children you may get them to pause and hold for a count of 3 -5) Exhale

Try and get the flower moving/keep the flower moving


Protective Behaviours Perth Western Australia

Bunny Breaths is another fun activity.

🐰 Inhale (Sniff)

🐰 Pause and Hold

(Depending on the age of the children you may get them to pause and hold for a count of 3 -5)

🐰 Exhale

🐰 Repeat

Other strategies
  • Reframing a challenging situation

  • Visualisation

  • Meditation

  • Warm bath/shower

  • Listening to music

  • Time spent in nature

  • Time spent with a pet

  • Physical movement


Purchase or make a pin wheel flower. If you're not sure how to make one watch this video.

You can access the Bunny Breaths Rhyme Printable Poster here.


You'll find the My Calm Me Down Book by Trace Moroney in Kmart, Target and Big W. This beautiful book offers children a range of well researched techniques to help regain calm when they experience dysregulation.

Child friendly books:

Visit the eSafeKids website to view a range of child friendly books sourced to support parents, carers, educators and other professionals.

To learn more about eSafeKids workshops and training visit our services page.

To view our wide range of child friendly resources visit our online shop.

Join the free eSafeKids online Members' Community. It has been created to support and inspire you in your home, school, organisation and/or community setting.

About The Author

Kayelene Kerr is recognised as one of Western Australia’s most experienced specialist providers of Protective Behaviours, Body Safety, Cyber Safety, Digital Wellness and Pornography education workshops. Kayelene is passionate about the prevention of child abuse and sexual exploitation, drawing on over 24 years’ experience of study and law enforcement, investigating sexual crimes, including technology facilitated crimes. Kayelene delivers engaging and sought after prevention education workshops to educate, equip and empower children and young people, and to help support parents, carers, educators and other professionals. Kayelene believes protecting children from harm is a shared responsibility and everyone can play a role in the care, safety and protection of children. Kayelene aims to inspire the trusted adults in children’s lives to tackle sometimes challenging topics.

About eSafeKids

eSafeKids strives to reduce and prevent harm through proactive prevention education, supporting and inspiring parents, carers, educators and other professionals to talk with children, young people and vulnerable adults about protective behaviours, body safety, cyber safety, digital wellness and pornography. eSafeKids is based in Perth, Western Australia.

eSafeKids provides books and resources to teach children about social and emotional intelligence, resilience, empathy, gender equality, consent, body safety, protective behaviours, cyber safety, digital wellness, media literacy, puberty and pornography.

eSafeKids books can support educators teaching protective behaviours and child abuse prevention education that aligns with the Western Australian Curriculum, Australian Curriculum, Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and National Quality Framework: National Quality Standards (NQS).

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