Play is an integral part of a child’s development. Children have to run, jump, dance, move and play tricks. However, sometimes they also need to be relaxed and calm. In this article, we introduce you to some exercises that help children learn to relax.
The exercises will have positive effects on both their physical and mental health.
If you teach children these techniques, they will find the power to lower their own anxiety, stress and insomnia. They will also be able to control their emotions and behave better.
In addition, these exercises promote their mood. And best of all, getting them into this relaxed and calm state isn’t boring at all. Welcome to a nice relaxation!
How can we teach children to relax?
The methods of Jacobson and Schultz
Jacobson’s method is one of the most popular exercises in the world for children to learn to relax. The technique involves contracting different muscles or muscle groups and then relaxing.
It’s very simple. The children lie on the floor. You ask the children to tense up different parts of their bodies and then let them go.
The children will notice how a gradual relaxation spreads over their entire body. You can start the exercise with individual muscle groups such as the hands or the neck. As the children have more experience, you can gradually make the exercise more difficult.
Schultz’s method is an autogenous (spontaneously occurring) relaxation exercise suitable for children over six years of age. Schultz has split the method into two levels: the top and the bottom. The method is based on the sensations of weight and heat.
The children are on the floor. You ask them to focus on the parts of their body that seem to weigh more (legs or arms) and that feel the warmest. As soon as the child feels a change and feels like it is free of tension and weight, do the same with the upper body. Continue in this manner until all muscles are relaxed.
You can also make it easier for the child to follow the instructions. Imagine them to be like a robot. So they have to move in a very rigid and robotic way. To relax, they become a rag doll with a soft body without any muscle tension.
The game of rejoue
Rejoue is one of the most fun exercises with which children learn to relax. In French, rejoue means “to repeat”. Time to give this exercise a try!
According to this method, the essence of life consists of pairs of opposites. So we have hot-cold, day-night, up-down, black-and-white, activity-rest, and so on. The rejoue technique unites relaxation exercises for children based on these pairs.
This exercise mainly uses one movement: rocking. Cradles are believed to mimic the movement of a rocking chair. So the child uses the most muscle groups to rock forward, backward, to one side and then to the other.
This duality comes into play when the child needs to tense some parts of the body but let others soften and relax. They will only succeed in rocking effectively if their body relaxes sufficiently.
Another game is stretching. It teaches small children to distinguish between the sensations of stretching and those of relaxing.
For example, you ask the child to spread the arms and stretch them as far as possible on both sides. They should remain in that position for a few seconds. Then ask them to relax slowly. After performing this exercise a few times, they will feel a tingling sensation in the body.
Activities with friends
Sometimes children run after each other. Then it is difficult to calm them down. They have a much harder time concentrating and focusing after so much excitement. You can try the activity with the feather duster here. With this game, children can learn to relax.
It’s very simple. Put on some relaxing music in the background. Divide the group of children into pairs. One child lies down on the floor. The other child uses a feather duster to play on his partner’s body to the beat of the music. Then they switch.
There is another activity similar to the previous one where you use a soft ball. The children also do this exercise in pairs. One child lies on the floor with closed eyes. The other child massages his partner’s body with a small, soft ball as if they were applying soap.
Visualize nice images
Children are very good in one area and that is imagination. Their way of thinking is very free. We can use this to help them relax. One way to calm them is through visualization.
You ask the child to lie on the floor and focus on his breathing for a few minutes. Then ask them to pay attention to what you say out loud. Ask them to imagine a large and peaceful field. The grass in this field is perfectly trimmed. You ask them to smell the field, hear the birds sing or feel the flowers.
Visualization is very versatile. You can make it personal and use any landscape: the beach, the mountains. You can even talk about smells. As you can see, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. The main aim is to help the children have fun while they relax.
Therefore, do it in such a way that they don’t see it as work. It is important here that the adults ensure that they are a suitable example for the children in terms of behavior. You should not forget that imitation is an important way in which children learn new things.
One final note: these exercises that teach children to relax also work for adults. After all, it’s good to stay young at heart!