When your child is feeling frustrated, upset, angry, or just overstimulated a proven idea to calm them down, is giving them space and allowing them to try and relax. As a parent, it can be really helpful to understand how to help your child relax.
Knowing how to get your child to relax has many benefits such as reducing their heart rate, calming their emotions, and allowing them to gather their thoughts and to think and respond from a place of calmness.
The relaxation I am talking about does not involve sitting in front of the tv either! A relaxation session or exercise such as kids yoga can last anywhere from ten minutes to one hour. Click here to learn more about my kid’s yoga classes!
In this article, how to help your child relax, I will show you some effective exercises to do at home. These fun and simple exercises allow your child to stay in the present moment and to pay attention to their current experience.
Whenever we feel stressed, our body responds with a physiological reaction known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. The body is responding to either a real or perceived danger, attack, or threat. Our muscles can become tense, our heart rate increases and so does our breathing.
We are ready to either take action (fight) or run away (flight). Even though this response occurs automatically, our bodies can get it wrong, as our brain does not know the difference between an actual real event or one that is made up in our mind.
Try and get your child (and yourself too) in the habit of taking time out to relax. Getting your child to have a good night’s sleep regularly, although a challenge, really has many benefits too, such as:
Step 1. Find a quiet and uninterrupted part of the house.
Step 2. Ask your child to get comfortable, whether that’s sitting up in a chair or lying down.
Step 3. Get your child to close their eyes and focus on their breathing, inhaling and exhaling and deeply.
Step 4. After five deep breaths, starting with their hands ask your child to clench both of their fists as tight as possible, clenching for fifteen seconds.
Step 5. After fifteen seconds ask your child to release their fists and get them to relax their entire body for thirty seconds.
Steps 6. – 12. Now it’s time to move to the next part of the body, and to continue this exercise in this order: face, shoulders, back, stomach, legs, feet, and toes. Ask your child to tense and squeeze each of these body parts for fifteen seconds and then relax the body for thirty seconds, before moving on to the next body part.
Final step. Complete this exercise by getting your child to shakeout their body, removing all traces of tension.
To help you with this process, I have created a script that you can download and print, you can get it here.
Mindfulness is a state of mind, focusing on the present moment. The here and now. Not thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. When you teach mindfulness to your child, it can help them combat negative thought patterns before the negative thoughts start to take over your child’s life. Practising mindfulness enables your child to develop self-awareness of both their inner and outer experiences.
Mindfulness can help enhance your child’s ability to calm down when they are distressed, help them to pay attention, as well as to make better decisions. As such, you should seek ways to introduce mindfulness into your child’s daily life; it will help them to become aware of their body sensations, thoughts, feelings, and whatever it is that is happening externally and internally.
An effective and popular mindfulness activity you can introduce to your child is the bell listening exercise: (you will need a bell or tingsha cymbals for this activity)
Step 1. Begin by getting your child into a comfortable position and ask them to close their eyes.
Step 2. Ring the bell, then ask your child to pay close attention to the vibration of the ringing sound.
Step 3. Request that they keep quiet and to remain silent and to focus on the sound of the bell.
Step 4. When your child can no longer hear the sound of the bell, ask them to raise their hand.
Step 5. Now get your child to continue with their eyes closed, and for the next sixty seconds get them to focus and listen out for any other noises that they hear. It could be the sound of a neighbour mowing the lawn, birds chirping, the dishwasher running, etc.
These fun and simple exercises allow you to help your child relax and to stay in the present moment and to pay attention to their current experience, and the great thing is you can repeat them numerous times.
This blog, how to help your child relax, is an excerpt from my e-Book Assisting Your Child to Manage Their Feelings. You can download your free copy here. or you can enroll in some one on one coaching here.
If you’d like to understand How To Communicate Effectively With Your Child you can download the free eBook here.