Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru by Lauren Brukner MS, OTR/L

Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru by Lauren Brukner MS, OTR/L

Parents, therapists, and educators are you looking for ways to help the children and teens under your care to cope with anxiety, anger and other difficult feelings usually brought on by sensory processing or emotional issues? We are excited to tell you about a wonderful self-help, illustrated guide for tweens and teens titled Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru: Wise Ways for Children to Regulate their Emotions and Senses by Lauren Brukner, MS, OTR/L.

This is the third book by the Keep-Calm Guru, the expert guide to the art of staying cool, calm, and in control in the face of overpowering feelings! Links to our reviews of her first two books and where to buy them are at the end of this post. Find also a link to an awesome interview with Ms. Brukner. Lauren recently signed a contract with her Jessica Kingsley Publishers for a fourth book!

About Stay Cool and In Control

with the Keep-Calm Guru

Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru is a 136 page hardcover book with the same “look” as the author’s two first successful books. The illustrator for her three books is Apsley. This third book in divided in two parts, one for tweens and teens and the other for parents, caregivers, teachers and therapists. The author has very helpful sections addressing each subgroup of adutls titled “How to Get the Most Out of this Book”.

One suggestion the author gives to simplify the introduction of the 42 self-regulatory strategies is to introduce one each week. A family could do this at home as a teacher would do this for her classroom.

One can immediately see Ms. Brukner is familiar with school settings as she wrote:

“Ensure that all service providers, administrators, and cluster subject
teachers, and anyone else servicing your child, are using the same
language around self-regulation, and are using the same strategies
and tools, when needed, to maximize the transfer of skills and selfregulation.
Set up a meeting to discuss this—don’t wait for their IEP meeting (if they have an IEP).”

Lauren Brukner is a full-time pediatric occupational therapist. She is also a full-time mom of three kids (they are now eight, seven, and five); therefore, Lauren knows how to get down to the level of children to make her content easy to understand for the youth reading her book. The book is designed for tweens and teens as it is written in large-font and has engaging, effective illustrations.

Kids reading Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru, feel as if the author is speaking directly to them as you can see from this passage:
“Close your eyes for a moment. Place your hand over your heart. Feel
it pulsating under your hand. Do you feel its familiar beat?
Picture a warm light emanating from your heart and through your
fingertips. What color is it? What color best represents who you are?
Take a moment here. It will come to you…”

Ms. Brukner wrote Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru to empower children to regulate their emotions and senses.  She teaches kids wise ways to recognise how they are feeling and acceptable ways to cope with their overwhelming emotions of anxiety, anger, sadness, frustration, fear, and other difficult emotions. Lauren uses numerous coping strategies from breathing exercises, yoga poses and pressure holds, to coloring activities, positive self-talk, ear massage, and many others.

Excepts from Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru

In Part ONE for Youth:

Slow and Tired – Page 20

When we are Slow and Tired, this means that we are so exhausted that we are unable to complete a task or participate in an activity that we want or need to do. Our eyes may feel droopy, our limbs may feel heavy, it may be hard to sit up, and it may be difficult to focus. We may feel irritated, or cranky. Activities that usually take a short amount of time may take longer because we are so sleepy. Ask yourself this question, and answer it honestly, my friends: are you getting enough sleep? What time are you getting to bed? If you are having difficulty sleeping, the “deep breathing” exercise introduced later in the book would be a good one to try once you get into bed.


Tools: Using the Stuff Most of You (Probably) Already Have –  Page 77

Did you know that mandalas are a form of meditation? They are a type of coloring page where the design is entirely symmetrical. The level of difficulty goes from simple to extremely intricate. The amount of focus that you need to finish a mandala is complete and all-in. This level of attention needed allows you to take time out of a busy day and to focus entirely on the act of coloring. This is a great activity to complete if you are feeling Fast and Emotional or Fast and Wiggly.

Note: There are many free downloadable mandalas, with varying levels of difficulty and intricacy, on the internet—just ensure that they are not copyrighted before printing them out. The one below is available to download along with the appendices.

In Part TWO for Adults:

Simple Supports to Promote Overall Self-Regulation Page 118

• Our classroom community/family motivators book! As a whole-class or family activity, talk about feeling confident. You can use concrete examples from day-to-day classroom/family experiences, or use motivational quotes that you have researched online. As a next step, your class can create an “Our classroom community/family motivators book!” Have each child/group of children write a motivational or inspirational quote or saying. They can illustrate it, or you can take a photo of them representing that quote. For example, if the quote is talking about perseverance, photograph a child or a few children working hard in an area that feels challenging for them. In times of decreased confidence or emotional dysregulation, you could redirect them to take a look at this book as a confidence-booster!

• Provide access to quiet areas in the classroom and home setting (pair it with a visual timer). This can be as simple as a private work area (noisereducing headphones paired with a correl (visual-stimuli blocker)), or an individual quiet space desk away from other students. This could be a tent—a table covered with a blanket or blocked with pillows.

Features we especially appreciate in this book:

  • The many downloadable resources like charts, lists, desk-top and bracelet reminders, etc. All these can be laminated and used often.
  • CHAPTER 11 Big Body Breaks: Or Shall We Say, Yoga Thirteen pages with Yoga exercises. Each exercise has a description to tell you the benefits of doing it. It has well explained instructions supported by an illustration that any child will understand.
  • “Just Right” Self-Monitoring Checklist that allows the child to stop and evaluate the strategies he tried and which worked best. Then he will know which he should try first the next time he feels the same way.
  • Three Categories of Strategies
    Lauren simplifies her strategies by placing them in three categories:
  1. Anywhere Body Breaks – “small movement” exercises
  2. “Big movement” activities that you can do before and/or after school
  3. Tools to help us feel Just Right, happy, and keep our light shining through
    Examples of these simple tools found in many homes
  • A “pet” bed pillow can offer a good amount of proprioceptive input,
  • Lap Pad/Deck-  if you are feeling Slow and Tired or Fast and Wiggly.
  • Velcroed Everyday Items-  scratchy Velcro surface acts as alerting tactile (touch) input through receptors in the skin.

Target Audience:
Suitable for children and adolescents with sensory and emotional regulation difficulties:

  • Age Range: 7 – 14 years
  • Grade Level: 2 – 9

The practical tips and tricks learned in this book help a child to feel in control of the overwhelmingly difficult feelings they may experience throughout their lives, both in their minds and in their hearts. Thanks Lauren Brukner for another wonderful resource that will make a difference in many lives as our youth with special needs learn how “Stay Cool and In Control”!

About the Author:
Lauren Brukner, MS, OTR/L is a Senior Occupational Therapist and published author of 3 books suitable for children with sensory and emotional regulation difficulties aged approximately 7-14 years.Lauren Brukner, MS, OTR/L is a Senior Occupational Therapist and published author who lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. She currently works as a Senior Occupational Therapist and evaluator in the NYC Department of Education. Lauren is a published author with Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and has appeared as a guest on The Autism Show, The Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s School-Home Connection, and The Matt Townsend Show.

Lauren is a contributing writer to Autism Parenting Magazine and The Huffington Post.

Her three books have been listed as resources on websites such as Real Simple Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Psych Central, Marie Claire, Everyday Health, AOL’s Health and Wellness, MSN Health,,,, and Friendship Circle, as well as numerous school district curricula around the world.

Her second and third books won the Mom’s Choice Award-gold seal. Lauren specializes in sensory integration and self-regulation strategies for children and young people, and their implementation in home, school, and community settings. She holds advanced training and certification in Integrated Listening Systems, and is a Certified Screener for Irlen Syndrome/Scotopic Sensitivity.

 To message for consultations, webinars, and speeches and to follow Lauren Brukner:

NOTE: We are updating this post and adding information on Lauren Brukner’s fourth book titled Self-Control to the Rescue!Self-Control to the Rescue!: Super Powers to Help Kids Through the Tough Stuff in Everyday Life by Lauren Brukner Super Powers to Help Kids Through the Tough Stuff in Everyday Life ( June 21, 2017).

Self-Control to the Rescue! is a hardcover book for kids aged seven through twelve at a  2 – 7 grade level. Illustrated by Apsley, this resource is packed with simple strategies to help kids stay in control. The book is divided into two parts, one for kids and one for adults. The first part teaches simple strategies to tackle the difficult emotions and challenges of everyday life. From the morning routine to making friends at recess, paying attention in class and getting a good night’s sleep.  This guide will help children stay on track and save the day!

Focusing on specific times of the day that present particular challenges, the book uses illustrations and simple language to describe breathing exercises, stretching, and visualization techniques to help children keep calm and in control. Suitable for all children, but especially those with sensory and emotional regulation difficulties, this is an accessible guide with extra tips and resources for parents, educators or therapists.

How to Be a Superhero Called Self-Control!: Super Powers to Help Younger Children to Regulate their Emotions and Senses (Dec 21 2015) winner of the Mom's Choice Award Gold Seal.READ Also:


Buy books by Lauren Brukner, MS, OTR/L.

  • Self-Control to the Rescue!: Super Powers to Help Kids Through the Tough Stuff in Everyday Life ( June 21, 2017)

The Kids’ Guide to Staying Awesome and In Control Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate their Emotions and Senses (July, 2014)

  • Stay Cool and In Control with the Keep-Calm Guru: Wise Ways for Children to Regulate their Emotions and Senses September 21, 2016 winner of the Mom’s Choice Award Gold Seal
  • How to Be a Superhero Called Self-Control!: Super Powers to Help Younger Children to Regulate their Emotions and Senses (Dec 21 2015) winner of the Mom’s Choice Award Gold Seal. 
  • The Kids’ Guide to Staying Awesome and In Control Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate their Emotions and Senses (July, 2014)

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.