With a variety of relaxation and mindfulness techniques now widely available for grown ups, it seems only natural that children could gain from this type of wellbeing too. But how can we help the energetic and eager minds of our children benefit from these relaxation techniques?
We have developed our Peace Out Guided Relaxation series with just this in mind, giving children a simple, fun, easy to follow guide to taking time out. It’s so easy to follow that they may not even realise that they’re practicing mindfulness! This week we’ve released a new addition to our Peace Out videos. The Flopometer helps children to understand how different levels of physical relaxation might feel, encouraging them to be aware of their body and how relaxed they are at different moments during the day.
Simple relaxation techniques like this encourage stress relief, but can also help your children sleep more soundly, improve their focus, allow clearer thinking, and lots more. With so many benefits to mindfulness for children of all ages, we’ve had a look at some other ways you could practice this type of relaxation at home with your kids…
Scrunching Up for Muscle Relaxing Starting with your child laying down in any position they find comfortable, the idea is to relax the body part by part. Starting with the toes and feet, ask your child to tense and scrunch up the muscles, before relaxing them out and releasing the tension. Continue up the body through the legs, arms and shoulders, tensing and relaxing each part in turn. Finish with pulling a silly face using all their face muscles, and then letting this go and completely relaxing. Slightly older children might like to lay like this for a minute or two, concentrating on their breathing, slowly in and out. At the end slowly wake up by wiggling the toes, fingers and each body part in turn again.
Visualising Somewhere Calm Visualisation is a brilliant way to focus the mind on relaxing. Laying in a comfy position on the floor or a bed, ask your child to imagine that they’re on a big, comfy beach towel, listening to the sea. Talk them through the sounds there, seagulls squawking, children playing, waves splashing. Get them to feel the sand between their toes and fingers, and the sea breeze on their face. Maybe they even have a big ice-cream to eat, how does it taste? Taking time to think about all these senses helps clear the mind of any daily stresses and gives the child a calm moment to relax. We introduce the idea of using imagination in this Movies in My Mind Zen Den episode...
Listening to Music and Sounds In all our Cosmic Kids videos, from yoga to relaxation, sounds play a very important part in creating the right mood for mindfulness. From calming sound effects like the wind blowing through the trees, to serene music being played quietly in the background, there are a whole host of sounds that can help with relaxation. The teachers at Rockfield Primary School use this idea in their music classes, listening to different types of calming music and having the class discuss their thoughts and feelings afterwards. You can always try this with some of the music they listen to at home, by visiting the music page on their website.
Making Calm a Priority If you prioritise something, it will happen. Some schools have even replaced detention with meditation and seen amazing results, so it seems there is definitely a place for this type of mindfulness in our children's lives as well as our own.
Have you tried any of these relaxation ideas at home? We'd love to hear how you've got on!
If you find our Peace Out series works for you, these videos are also available as MP3 downloads, which means you can save and play them whenever and wherever you like!
I focus on the production of Cosmic Kids content, and make our systems and partnerships work well so Cosmic Kids can make as much useful and fun stuff as possible. When it comes down to it, it’s my job to make sure that as many kids as possible get to experience the magic of Jaime!
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