Regulation Tool: Hot Cocoa Breaths

I’m loving this zones tool, which I got from here!  I don’t have chocolate markers (and some of my telehealth kids don’t, either) so I just use a completely pretend version. To use this tool have a child pretend they’re holding a cup of hot cocoa.  Have them first take a deep breath in through their nose to smell it, then blow out through pursed lips to cool it off.  Repeat this several times.  As usual, I’ll do this with the kids so they don’t feel self-conscious about doing it alone.  Pretend hot cocoa has been really helpful for some of my patients who are currently feeling a bit overwhelmed with the pandemic.  Like all zones tools it’s best to practice while a child is calm and regulated so that they’re better-able to try it when they become worried/sad/mad/dis-regulated. 

For my patients who need a little more help with pretending or staying engaged in this technique I’m using the FREE “Hot Chocolate Drinking Maker” and “Hot Chocolate – Unicorn Food” apps before we start doing the breathing technique.

For my patients who are even more concrete and have difficulty pretending I have both regular and dairy-free hot cocoa. I’ve yet to use it, I’m planning to get parents’ permission before I do, and I’m cautious that I don’t want to give patients the expectation of getting hot cocoa during each of our appointments.

Here are some more of my favorite Zones of Regulation tools.