10 Ways to Calm Your Class After Lunch (Teaching Tips)

Holly (Teach Starter)

Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

Picture this… my morning session has gone great, the students have all come to school fresh and ready to learn. Winning! I’ve incorporated a few little brain breaks into my teaching and the morning has been a resounding success! The bell goes for first-break, my students head outside and I have some time to have a little break myself.  But, before I know it, first-break has finished and my students are racing up to class, hot and sweaty, jumping around like they have ants in their pants!

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It quickly becomes apparent that my middle session is going to be a little more problematic than the first… this is where having some ways to calm your class after lunch is hugely beneficial!

Teacher Tips for Ways to Calm your Class After Lunch

(1) Play Relaxing Music

Playing relaxing music is incredibly powerful, especially when little minds need some quiet time!

Researchers have found that when playing relaxing music in the classroom, the music lowers students’ blood pressure, reduces muscle tension, slows down the heart rate and increases their attention span (Hurley, T).

Simply head to YouTube and search for ‘relaxing music for children’.

Child listening to relaxing music

Shutterstock.com / Krakenimages.com

(2) Colour-In

When children have been outside playing with their friends, exhausted from running around, sorting out friendship issues, engaging all of their social skills, it is nice for them to come in and focus on something just for themselves.

Colouring-in is a low-stress activity that allows students to focus, calm down and release their creative potential. Best of all it’s not competitive! Our Giant Printable Colouring sheet is the perfect resource for a whole class colouring in corner!

To add another element of relaxation, I would still have quiet music playing in the background.

Whole class colouring in page

Here are some of our colouring in sheets:

(3) Focus on Breathing

Breathing exercises are another powerful tool that can be taught to children to empower them to self-regulate their emotions.

Encouraging children to sit quietly and focus on their breathing is a quick and easy way to calm your students after lunch.

Young boy doing mindful breathing.

Here are some breathing exercises:

Flower Breath: Imagine smelling a beautiful flower, breath in through the nose and out the mouth, releasing any tension. Stop and smell the roses, daffodils, daisies or any other flower they like. This is a simple way to connect kids to their breath and how it helps them to feel.

Bunny Breath: Just 3 quick sniffs in the nose and one long exhale out the nose. Invite kids to pretend to be bunnies, sniffing the air for other bunnies, carrots to eat, or safety. It can be a lovely cleansing breath when you use it in this way.

For more ideas head to our blog, 18 Amazing Mindfulness Activities for the Classroom.

This YouTube video is another simple breathing exercise you could also do with your students:

We also have this fantastic mindful breathing activity video available on the Teach Starter Youtube channel:

(4) Calming Sensory Bottles

Sensory tactile objects, also known as ‘fidget toys’, provide something for children to hold and touch. They also help children to re-focus and gain control over their emotions. Keep a ‘calm down tool kit’ in the chill out corner filled with a range of sensory tactile objects.

Recycle some plastic bottles and pop in some water with other items that will sink and float such as marbles or environmentally friendly glitter!

Sensory water bottles for the classroom.


(5) Circle Time – Classroom Debrief

Sometimes, children need to talk! They need to tell you that they scored their first goal playing soccer, or that they had some sharing issues in the library. Perhaps they found a bug at lunchtime that they want to show you…

Why not set aside 10 minutes after break time to sit around in a circle and chat.

Young boy with hand up in classroom

Shutterstock.com / Anna Nahabed

I had a little classroom toy pet (Turtle the Talker), the children would sit in a circle and pass Turtle the Talker around the room, children who wanted to talk or tell a story would hold on to Turtle the Talker until they were ready to pass it on to another child. Simple, yet effective!

(6) Quiet Reading

Let your students relax and listen to a story, encourage them to visualise what is happening in the story. Allow them time to unwind and focus on something different. It’s amazing how just one story can assist students to calm down!

Children relaxing in class

Shutterstock.com / Gorodenkoff

If you have some students that still need to fidget – get out the fidget toy box!

(7) Yoga for Kids

Yoga helps children slow down and focus (Karen Tom from Charlotte Kid’s Yoga).

Not sure the of the yoga moves? That’s ok, check out our cute Yoga Poses for Kids posters. 16 different moves that you can do with your class.

For more tips, head over to our blog – Tips for Teaching Yoga to Kids.

Yoga in the Classroom

(8) Handwriting

Who would have thought handwriting could be a way to calm children after lunchtime?

Doing some handwriting is a slow, repetitive task that requires concentration and helps students slowly adjust back to the quiet energy of the classroom.

Again, this might not work for every child in your class, it’s about finding ways that work for your group of students.

Young girl doing handwriting.

Shutterstock.com / Rido

Why not play some music as well!

(9) Dim the Lights

Turning down those bright florescent lights is another great trick to help calm your students!

In my class, I had the lights dimmed or off and had classical music playing. I would let only a couple of children into the room at a time, wait till they were settled and then allowed a few more children in.

This is a nice way to set a calm ambiance and help the students to reboot ready for the next learning session.

(10) Aquarium Watching

I stumbled across this YouTube clip that I thought would be a different way to calm students in your class. A stunning aquarium visual with beautiful relaxing music. Again, I would pop this on and dim the lights before your class came back into the classroom.

Encourage your students to sit at their desks and listen to the music, they may wish to watch the aquarium or just place their head on their desk for some quiet time.

Please share your strategies for settling students after lunch in the comments of this blog.
What works for your class?

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Comments & feedback

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Manolis Lamnatos

The resources on this page are amazing. Thanks Teach Starter!

Manolis Lamnatos · Dec 4th, 2020

Tom (Teach Starter)

Our pleasure Manolis! Thank you for the kind feedback!

Tom (Teach Starter) · Dec 4th, 2020

Rachell Hildenbeutel

What a great idea, definitely will try this

Rachell Hildenbeutel · Sep 11th, 2020

Paul (Teach Starter)

Thanks, Rachell! Let us know how it goes!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Sep 14th, 2020

Soph Allison

WOW really works

Soph Allison · Sep 4th, 2020

Paul (Teach Starter)

Thanks for your feedback, Soph!

Paul (Teach Starter) · Sep 6th, 2020

Veronica Muldoon

This was one of the big things I learnt as a first year teacher! I started what I called cool down calm down time with my class. They have a choice of finishing work, colouring, drawing on whiteboards or reading for the 10 mins after lunch. I noticed a huge change and it made middle sessions a lot easier.

Veronica Muldoon · Jul 19th, 2018

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thanks for your comment, Veronica. It’s amazing how something so simple can really change the dynamics of the day!

Holly (Teach Starter) · Jul 20th, 2018

Sajida Riyaz

Excellent idea for calming down kids

Sajida Riyaz · Apr 4th, 2017

Lee Levey

I have been using Smiling Mind (https://smilingmind.com.au/) with my class. They ask me, “Are we going to do our relaxation?”. We usually do this a few times a week after lunch. The students have really embraced it and their responses about why they enjoy this activity have amazed me. Each student is getting something different from the experience. Even the students that are a bit fidgety are slowly improving in their ability to be still for longer periods of time. I would highly recommend it. It’s also available as an app.

Lee Levey · Apr 3rd, 2017

Lee Levey

My students have really enjoyed the guided meditations from Smiling Mind. It’s an app and it can also be accessed via the internet. Sign up,it’s Australian and it’s a free account plus there are special guided sessions for children. My students asked if they can do it again. Winner!

Lee Levey · Feb 10th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

I’m going to have to check out this Smiling Mind app. A lot of people have suggested this as a nice way to calm their students! Thanks for your comment Lee!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 11th, 2017

Lee Levey

I have had the same experience with my class, they love it.

Lee Levey · Apr 3rd, 2017

Diana Tasevska

Wow such great ideas! Can’t wait to use these in the classroom 😀

Diana Tasevska · Feb 10th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thanks for the lovely comment Diana! So glad you find these ideas useful!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 10th, 2017

Melissa Meador

Some wonderful ideas…I will be implementing some of these immediately.

Melissa Meador · Feb 9th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

So glad this blog article has inspired you with some ideas! Would love to hear how you go Melissa!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 10th, 2017

Marjorie Foster

I use so many of these ideas already and can vouch for how effective they are.

Marjorie Foster · Feb 9th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

Thanks for your lovely comment Marjorie! It’s great to hear first hand how these strategies have worked!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 10th, 2017


I love the free Smiling Minds app developed in Australia. It has different programs for personal or classroom use and is further differentiated by age groups. My students can’t wait to meditate each day. Check it out yourself – http://www.smilingmind.com.au

Andrew · Feb 8th, 2017

Holly (Teach Starter)

Looks great! Thanks for sharing Andrew!
Kind regards,

Holly (Teach Starter) · Feb 8th, 2017

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