Teaching children relaxation skills is important. Learning such skills in childhood is good for well-being.
Here’s one example of a relaxation exercise you can read to your child. You can read the child’s favourite bedtime story often to allow the child to learn it by heart. We grown-ups might remember an evening prayer or some other words that were repeated in our childhood. Soothing words learnt by heart may help children later in life and soothe them in stressful life situations.
Mental imaging helps children to relax, to keep still and be aware of the different parts of their body. Read the story one line at a time and stop at the end of each sentence. You can change the story as you wish or use words or characters important to your child. The key is to help the child concentrate on the present moment and let the body relax.
You can stroke the child gently during reading.
Enjoy the time together!
A relaxation exercise for children
Lie on the bed on your back.
Close your eyes.
You can place a toy or your hands on your tummy to feel how it’s moving.
Feel your breathing and how it makes your tummy go up and down.
Be as calm as the moon in the night sky.
Be as quiet as a hare sleeping in a bush.
Your hands are heavy and relaxed as the branches of a spruce.
Your fingers are still.
Your legs are as heavy as boulders.
Sleepiness and calm are taking you over.
A wise owl is whispering to you:
“This is a good place to be. You sleep, and I’ll look after you.”