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Relaxation Exercises for Children


children_yoga_wellbeingcomauWe are in an age when everybody is humming the relaxation mantra and frequently discussing the benefits of meditation. However, much of the discussion on most forums is focused on relaxation for adults. Recent research suggests that young children and teenagers benefit from methods of relaxation; not only do such exercises calm them down but also equip them with the ability to cope well with various life stressors.

In the modern age, it is a myth that children’s lives are carefree and they can do whatever they want. If anything, their lives are far from carefree, what with the constant stream of instructions directed at them every day. A recent research suggests that many schoolchildren suffer from ‘deep anxiety’, and get as overwhelmed as their parents or other adults, when bombarded with instructions by their parents or teachers. An average school going child has to face several stressors every day. Children are not able to cope with the stress, and other negative emotions, such as fear, anger, or even sadness, if exposed to them for a long period of time.

There are some obvious benefits of relaxation for children; some of these benefits are the same as those experienced by adults who practice relaxation:

– Just like in the case of adults, a relaxed child is able to think more constructively and positively. Tension affects not only an adult’s performance at work but also affects a child’s performance at school, his/her interaction with adults and peers, and his/her self-perception.

– Relaxation activities help relax children’s muscles, calm the nervous system, boost the immune system and improve sleep.

– Relaxation sharpens concentration, promotes positive thinking and improves memory.

– Relaxation is also responsible for increased self-confidence, self–esteem, creativity and imagination in children.

– Introducing relaxation exercises in the daily schedule of children, will promote their awareness of a healthy lifestyle and equip them with a life – long strategy that aims to improve their well – being.

Some easy-to-use relaxation strategies that your child can practice (perhaps, with a little guidance from you):

– Deep Breathing: The simplest way to calm down is by taking deep breaths in 3 easy steps: Take a deep breath in; hold it for a moment; and release it slowly. This can be repeated as many times as needed.

– Laughter: In the mad rush to keep up with grades, learn a new set of skills every month, be the best and the brightest child in the school, and similar pressures, children often forget to laugh. As a parent, you can help your child rediscover this simple yet essential pleasure of life. Crack jokes, watch funny cartoons, or just laugh without a reason. Laughing out loud relaxes our muscles and calms us down.

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Shobhika Jaju is a NET qualified psychologist who would love to be reborn as a shrink every single time. She is the founder of Silver Linings: Guidance & Counselling Centre, in South Goa, & hence is effectively putting her love for psychotherapy & her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology to good use. Shobhika also works at Little’s School, Fatorda (Goa) & writes for several print and online media on a regular basis. She facilitates workshops on topics promoting personal enhancement & spreading mental health awareness. She is affiliated to the American Psychological Association, Bombay Psychological Association, Goa Psychological Association & the Movement for Global Mental Health. Her website can be accessed at silverliningsgoa.com.

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