Childhood can be rough on little bodies both physically and emotionally. We’re learning as adults how important this idea of self-care is for us, but also how important it can be for our kids too. Teaching children at a young age to be in tune with their bodies and emotions can help them not only learn to better control their emotions and feelings, but to be able to manage them more effectively down the road. These relaxation techniques for kids are a great place to start!
The best habits we gain as adults are the ones we start practicing as children. Exercise, eating right, getting enough sleep, learning to get adequate rest and relaxation and how to manage emotions…these things are all incredibly important!
We love this insight on how to help our kids relax from one of our favorite contributors: CeLisa Steele, LSW
There are several ways we can help our children learn how to relax, calm down, de-stress, and cope with anxiety. Here are a few simple exercises that are effective for all ages.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
This can be used if a child is anxious, angry, hyper, or as a bedtime routine. The idea of Progressive Muscle Relaxation is to slowly and separately relax each muscle group by first stressing the muscle and then relaxing it. This lets each muscle group slowly relax until the whole body is relaxed. The child can start by either sitting or laying down and then you can help by dictating which muscle group to tighten for 3-5 seconds and release.
For example, “Now clench your fists as tight as you can and keep squeezing (then count to 3), now let go and feel the difference as your hands are now relaxed”. It generally helps to start at either the top or bottom of our bodies (feet or head). Here is a great script that I like to use.
*Download and print this script here: Relaxation Script for kids
Another great exercise for relaxation is Guided Imagery. There are several different amazing scripts that can help children imagine they are in a relaxing environment. Here is one of my favorites that you can use at any age and even alter it to make it more descriptive if desired.
“Going on a Vacation” Script
*Download and print this script here: Guided Imagery For Kiddos
(*Script taken from Blaustein and Kinniburgh (2010), p. 303)
It might seem silly or feel strange at first, but these relaxation practices can be incredibly beneficial for both you and your kids. Have you ever practiced PMR or guided imagery before? Test out these scripts and tell us what you think!
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