Calm Children Quickly with this Effective Classroom Strategy


Do you ever find your classroom getting out of control?

Actually, the better question is—how many times per day do you find your classroom completely out of control?

Students are overly excited, they’re not listening, and you’re not sure how to regain their attention. Especially when it comes to elementary-aged children–the room can go from silence to something that resembles a zoo in a matter of seconds.

Art teacher and Youtuber Cassie Stephens can relate to that “out of control” feeling teachers often experience, but she’s found a calming exercise that truly works for her young students.

In a popular YouTube video, Stephens introduced the idea of “palming”, or the act of covering your whole eyes with your palm in order to reach a state of relaxation.

The technique has been proven to work for relaxing the mind and body, but there are a few crucial steps to convince a rowdy group of students to “bring it back in” as Cassie explains in the video.

First, students should take off their “glasses” (real or imaginary!) so that no student feels left out. Once they have carefully placed their glasses on the desk, ask the students to hold their hands up directly in front of their chest. Their palms should be facing out and their thumbs should be touching. Next– while moving at a very slow pace– instruct students to then bring their hands together and start rubbing them together.

Take as much time as needed during this part; both teacher and students should be rubbing hands together slowly, as the students are being instructed in a calm, light voice.

“I will start to count. When I say 2, rub your hands together just a little bit faster,” Stephens instructs during this point in the video. 

As the students continue to rub their hands together, make them aware of the next step. At the number “3”, students should stop rubbing and separate their hands. Next, instruct students to take the palm of their hand and put it over their eye gently. With both hands gently over the eyes, students should wrap their fingers gently over the top of their head and lean their head down.

Students should remain in this calming position for a while, as long as the teacher deems necessary. This moment serves as a great time for the teacher to share instructions for what’s next, in a calm, mellow voice.

On the (slow) count of three, students are expected to put their glasses (again, real or imaginary) back on and resume following the teacher’s instructions. 

In recent studies, mindfulness has proven to have phenomenal results in reducing stress, controlling anxiety, promoting emotional health, enhancing self-awareness, and lengthening attention spans, among other benefits. Children are no exception to the benefits of mindfulness. The palming method is basically a way to take the beneficial art of mindfulness and put it in terms that a child would understand. Therefore, they’re being guided in it without even realizing it. Additionally, palming has proven to give the eyes rest in a technology-driven world that often doesn’t leave room for pause. Most importantly, it encourages students, and teachers, to slow down, think, and reset.

Calm Children Quickly with this Effective Classroom Strategy

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Whitney Ballard is a writer and teacher from small town Alabama. She owns the Trains and Tantrums blog, https://trainsandtantrums.blog/. Whitney went from becoming a mom at sixteen to holding a Master’s degree in Education; she writes about her journey, along with daily life, through a Christian lens on her blog. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the backyard with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

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