Help Ground Yourself & Your Child With the 54321 Exercise

The exercise below is a well know activity that has proven to be really effective in helping people ground themselves, calm down, de-stress and re-focus.

It uses the five senses to bring awareness back to the current moment which can help when feeling anxious, stressed, over-excited or emotionally disregulated.

It is really effective with children but adults as well and can be done anywhere, however It is best practiced in a safe and quiet place where you/your child won’t be disturbed.

It can also be adapted it to the needs and age of your child and if your chid has a disability e.g. partially sighted or deaf then again you can adapt to what works best for them. 


Name 5 Things You Can See

e.g. car, tree, sun, clouds, shoes, pencil, books, your fingernails, an insect etc

Name 4 Things You Can Touch

e.g. cup, fabric of trousers/dress, grass, a stone, tasbeeh, water bottle, blanket, a ball etc

Name 3 Things You Can Hear

e.g. traffic, birds singing, Qur’an recitation, people talking, the wind or rain, clock ticking, your breathing etc

Name 2 Things You Can Smell

e.g. food cooking, perfume, traffic fumes, cut grass, scent of flowers etc

Name 1 Things You Can Taste

e.g. a sweet, a cold or warm drink, an apple or banana, ice cream, a snack etc 

Suggestions for Adaptations

Pick a Theme

Try picking a theme and adapt plus you don’t have to use all the senses. E.g. Traffic: 5 vechicles you cab see, 4 you can hear, 3 you can touch (when safe0; 2 traffic smells, Try other themes such as nature, food etc.

Adapt for Younger Children

For younger children you can adapt the number off things and limit the senses used e.g. 3 things you can see, 2 you can hear, 1 you can touch, or 1 thing uou an see, touch, hear, smell anf taste and so on.

Mix It Up

You do not have to use the ordering of numbers to senses above. You can mix it up to make it easier or harder. For example 5 things you can hear, 4 things you can smell, 3 things you can taste and so on. Or try 5 of each sense etc