12 Relaxation Techniques and Activities for Children
We are going to tell you something that you probably didn't know. We were raised in a time where the most important thing was to prepare for the future. We studied many hours, had little play time and many rational activities. Today we want to tell you that teaching children to relax helps them develop their emotional intelligence, learning healthy living habits in a world in which stimuli of all kinds are abundant. In this way they develop their true potential, physical and intellectual performance. Especially when it comes to falling asleep, at this childhood stage, children have not yet developed their independence, so parental help is essential. We must choose a time of day when we are alone with them, for example before going to nap or before going to sleep. We can perform these techniques to help the child fall asleep and learn to sleep alone and relaxed.
Why should children do relationship exercises?
For the same reason that you must learn to relax. Leisure is a fundamental part of life. It is what helps us regulate ourselves emotionally, to fix what we learned during the day and is key to happiness. Let's remember that exhausted people have difficulties regulating their emotions and understanding what is happening to them. Teaching children to relax is a pleasant way to instill healthy living habits in them and learn to develop their emotional intelligence. In a world where stimuli of all kinds are abundant, giving children relaxation exercises and incorporating them into life habits will benefit them in developing their true potential and intellectual and physical performance.
Relaxation technique for children
We love the effects of mindfulness in all the people who have tried it for the benefits they bring. In the case of children, in fact, schools in Holland, Great Britain and the United States are incorporating this practice into the curriculum. It is no coincidence, childhood is an ideal stage to master mindfulness, so that it not only becomes a habit, but also an attitude with which to face life. One of the objectives of teaching mindfulness to children is to provide them with skills to develop awareness of their internal and external experiences, so that they learn to recognize their thoughts and emotions, as well as their impact on the body, so that they can better control their impulses, develop their emotional intelligence and achieve greater well-being.
Yoga and stretching
We know it seems impossible to keep children still, but yoga has many benefits, especially on the joints. And it doesn't have to be boring, since there are many videos on YouTube of yoga with animals or superheroes so that the little ones can get hooked on the topic. Through yoga, children will exercise their breathing and learn to relax to cope with stress, conflictive situations and lack of concentration, problems so evident in today's society. Yoga will also help them on their long path to physical, mental and psychological mastery. Appropriate mats or mats can be used and children can be barefoot or wearing socks.
Deep breathing exercises
Look, a great way to get the attention of the little ones, that is, it is a practice before being able to get into the pools or to improve their swimming technique. Breathing deeply and deliberately can calm a person's body and mind. Deep breathing techniques activate the parasympathetic nervous system (part of the nervous system that controls reactions to stress), in addition to redirecting the mind to a simple task, distracting from anxious thoughts. “By teaching breathing exercises to children, we give them a valuable tool,” says Stephanie Richardson, LCSW, director of the social work team in the Emergency Department at Children's Health℠. “Children can use deep breathing to help them throughout the day, whether they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, need to relax or fall asleep, calm the body after exercising, or simply pause and relax when they have too much energy.” . Remember that you are not with your children all day and it is a great tool for them to calm themselves and feel calm.
Tense and relax. Controlling the way we breathe is one of the simplest ways to relax. It's about teaching your son or daughter to breathe consciously. Explain how they should notice how the air enters through the nose, reaches the lungs, and exits through the mouth slowly. You can start with ten slow, deep breaths and increase them as the days go by, as well as combine this with other relaxation exercises. A great way to achieve relaxation is to count the times, which is why we recommend 4-7-8. To do it, teach your child to start by putting one hand on his belly and the other on his chest. Tell him to breathe deeply and slowly from his abdomen, while silently counting to 4. Now, ask him to hold his breath while counting from 1 to 7 in his head. Finally, you tell him to exhale completely, counting to 8, trying to get all the air out of his lungs.
The balloon technique
The balloon technique is a method for children to learn to manage nervousness, frustration or anger. It is one of the many ways to give our children tools so that they learn to self-regulate their emotions (we just have to be careful with the balloons). We must explain to them that when we get angry or nervous we are like a balloon, that we fill up and that, if we do not control it, we can explode. Then (or in parallel) we fill a balloon, inflating and inflating until it explodes (we must warn them that this will happen). So we tell them that just like a balloon, if we get angrier and angrier, eventually we will burst and we will no longer be able to control ourselves. Next, we ask the child to fill another balloon but without letting it explode. And when you have enough air, we encourage you to let the air out slowly. It is a very visual way of making them see that if we manage to manage those feelings, we will not lead to an uncontrollable explosion. Then, without balloons, we ask them to fill their lungs with air until they can't take it anymore and to let it escape little by little until they return to normal. This can be done lying down, sitting or in any relaxed posture. If we are also interested in the moments in which they feel about to burst (fights with siblings, anger at not achieving something, etc.), we will make them connect those experiences with the image of the balloon and they will be able to apply it when they feel that way.
The ant technique
This is a breathing technique in which we will tell the child to imagine that he is a very small animal like an ant and must breathe like it. Then, the opposite side must imagine that it is a large animal like a lion. We give the instruction that the ant breathes slowly and deeply, while the lion breathes quickly and strongly. Next, we can ask him which one he liked the most and which one left him calmest so that, in this way, he can learn that the correct way to breathe is that of the ant.
Other exercises to calm anxiety and nerves
As we have seen, there are many exercises that are based on breathing control to help self-regulate. But, thinking about children, there are also other options that have to do with play and activities.
You can download them from the internet and paint them with pencils, crayons, paints and pigments. With mandalas they will learn to concentrate, control their body, have patience and, at the same time, reduce stress, as well as many of them also serve as exercises graphomotor. You can let them draw the mandalas or print some drawings and encourage them to color them. Remember that the most important thing is not that they paint within the lines, but that they express themselves. There are also books that can be bought in bookstores that have many designs.
Listen to music, sing and dance
Music is a great method to help regulate our emotions and those of our little ones. You can put together a playlist together of music to dance to or even for them to dance to when they need to discharge energy. Singing helps release the throat chakra, which is ideal for learning to express ourselves better.
This is a hybrid between mindfulness and breathing. There are numerous videos on YouTube where, with a soft and slow voice, we can do meditations of 10, 20 or more minutes. Most are suitable for the whole family, so they could be used for family time. Find a comfortable place, at a nice temperature and in peace.
It is a suitable technique for babies from 0 to 3 years old as it will help them relax and sleep better. Choose soft music, a calm environment and a pleasant temperature. Gently massage a little baby oil on your feet, legs, arms, stomach, hands, chest and back.
Imagination and visualization technique
Here we will help you calm down with the power of imagination. We can make up short stories for kids together, or think about vacations, trips and getaways together. Let's help us think about what we would like to achieve and how to get there.
Cuddles and laughter
Nothing better than a good laugh to help us relax. We can dress up as story characters, animals, superheroes and even fruits. Also invent stories by drawing and laugh at them. A good hug calms in a great way.
Tips for relaxation exercises in children
These exercises help us a lot to relax. That is why we advise you to do them at the end of the night. Also, in the event of a tantrum, it is ideal to help regulate anger. You must be its guide, so you can also take advantage of its benefits.
Benefits of applying relaxation methods in children
Relaxation in the strict sense refers to a state of the organism definable as the absence of tension or activation and which manifests itself at three levels: physiological, subjective and behavioral. In general, we tend to identify tension and relaxation with the physiological level, that is, with the relaxation of our muscles, which in turn leads to a state of emotional and cognitive calm. Relaxation in the strict sense refers to a state of the organism definable as the absence of tension or activation and which manifests itself at three levels: physiological, subjective and behavioral. In general, we tend to identify tension and relaxation with the physiological level, that is, with the relaxation of our muscles, which in turn leads to a state of emotional and cognitive calm. In childhood there is a continuous learning process, and one of them is the management of emotions. Therefore, there is nothing better than explaining some relaxation exercises for children to calm them when they are agitated.
Not being able to control their feelings, and without following relaxation strategies for children, the little ones resort to crying, anger and even aggression as a means of escape. If as adults we find it very difficult to maintain emotional stability without falling into the extremes of sadness and anger, how can it not be difficult for children?
Relaxation techniques do not work the same for all children, since each child is unique. But you have several options to decide based on what your child needs.