Increased levels of stress and anxiety can affect adults, but children are not immune to these feelings either.As well as looking after their physical health, ensuring they eat a healthy diet packed with vitamins, we can also use strategies to support their mental health. These methods of relaxation for children take the principles used for adults and make them more accessible for a younger age group.
Breathing exercises help reduce stress and anxiety in children, just as they do with adults. However, for children, breathing exercises are a lot more accessible for them if you can provide visual cues.
You can teach your children how to breathe from the belly with this simple technique.Tell children to inhale through the nose and imagine smelling a flower. You can also ask them to put their hand on their belly to feel it inflate. When they breathe out, tell them to exhale through their mouths and imagine they are blowing out birthday candles.3
Yoga often comes very naturally to children; sometimes, they are doing poses without even realising. Recognised as a powerful positive coping method, many schools have devoted time in their timetables to yoga practice.Poses, such as Cat-Cow, Downward-Facing Dog, Tree Pose and Warrior I and II, are fun and imaginative for children. As beginner poses, they also do not require too much flexibility, so are great for adults to learn yoga alongside their children too.4
Providing children with something to focus on when practising meditation techniques makes it easier for them.For example, try blowing bubbles and ask children to imagine their worries contained in the bubbles, as they watch them float away. 5 Another good idea is to look at the clouds together. You could do this in the garden or even from the window. Ask children to think about what shapes they can see. Do they remind them of characters in stories or places they have been? Focusing on these calming shapes will help them to relax.6
Last updated: 02 November 2020