Benefits of practicing relaxation with your child
How to help your child relax is a question many parents ask. Relaxation is vital for children’s health and wellbeing. A few minutes’ relaxation each day can help children to stay calm and focus on school targets.
As a play therapist I see children after school when they are usually tired, and some of them also suffer from anxiety related to their school day. I have noticed that teaching children how to release tension through breathing techniques and easy exercises helps them to cope much better with their busy day at school, and their listening and problem-solving skills improve. Listening to creative visualisation stories encourages them to go on imaginary journeys, freeing up their creativity.
Here are some simple exercises that will help your child relax:
Encourage your child to lie on the floor or in their bed and try to listen to the sound of their own breath. If they put one hand on their tummy, they can notice how their tummy rises when they breathe in and goes down as they breathe out. Paying such close attention to their breathing will help calm their minds from distractions and daily stresses. A more advanced technique would be to teach children to breathe in for a count of 3 or 4 and then to breathe out for 3 or 4. Breathing more deeply increases the oxygen supply to their bodies and breathing out deeply aids muscle relaxation.
Another fun exercise involving a sibling or a parent is to softly blow a feather around a room while gently relaxing music is playing.
In my therapeutic practice I use yoga asanas (sequences of yoga postures) to help children to calm down. One of the postures I use is called “child’s pose” which is when a child kneels and hides their head between their legs. Gentle pressure or massage applied to the back while the child is in this position will help them to release tension.
Children love taking a journey into an imaginary world. I have a great collection of relaxation stories and the children I work with request them in almost every session. During the story they will usually lie down on the floor with a lavender bag on their eyes. Sometimes they will draw a picture of the story afterwards.
A great way to start the day is by using affirmation cards. I use a particular set called “star affirmation cards”. When a child picks up a card it will say, for example, “Friendly star - Today I will play with a friend.” This helps the child to think about the day ahead, to take positive action and could in turn help a child to work on their self -esteem and social skills in their school environment.
Parents can benefit too!
Parents who practice relaxation and visualisation techniques with their children will feel much calmer too. Happy, calm children means less stress for parents during bedtime, better relationships between parents and children and more quality time together.
Please call Children’s Therapies if you interested in one of my breathing and relaxation classes for your child.