Relaxation techniques for children are a very proper tool for them to learn to recognize their different emotional states and improve the degree of body consciousness. With these sources, they will not only understand how to calm down before, but they will increase their emotional intelligence.
Children can learn to relax from a pretty young age. But, not all techniques are proper for all ages. For example, the bottle of calm can be beneficial to the little ones. Alternatively, Jacobson’s progressive relaxation is suitable for the elderly.
The bottle of calm: One of the relaxation techniques for younger children
This technique is very useful due to its monotony. Can be used for 2 years. To carry it out we need the following:
- A plastic bottle or glass jar for older children.
- A wide container.
- A funnel.
- A spoon to stir the mixture.
- Hot water.
- 2 tablespoons of built-in or clear glitter glue.
- A few drops of food coloring.
The elements are combined in the container and incorporated into the jar or bottle through the tube. The outcome of the glittering water encourages the little ones to differentiate when we are calm – the glitter is resting in the background – from when we are nervous or confused, with all the glitter mixed with the water.
You can agree with the children when to use it. For example, when they identify that they are more anxious or angry. Shaking the bottle will clear some of the built-up tension and watching the glitter slowly descend will have an added relaxing action.
Among the relaxation techniques for younger children, one of the most popular is the turtle technique. In it, the children are told that they must imagine that they are a turtle. To do this, they are placed face down on the ground, assuming the posture of the animal.
Then we tell them that it is getting dark and that it is time to sleep. To be like turtles, they must shrink their arms and legs little by little until they are placed under their back, taking the shape of a shell.
While they are cringing, we can tell them to take deep breaths as if they were sleeping. We let a couple of minutes pass and we inform them that the sun is rising. Then, the children gradually stretch their arms and legs simulating their awakening.
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This technique works very well to work on relaxation in the classroom. Children are placed in a space where they can move freely.
Then we tell them that at that moment they turn into ants. For this, we demonstrate that their arms and legs are shrinking and moving more and more slowly because they are becoming tiny.
Once they have turned into ants and their moves are very slow, we ask them to relax the contracted muscles. The game can end there or continue to give instructions so that they become another animal.
To carry out this activity we ask the children to imagine that they are a balloon. For this, we can help them with their arms to simulate the round image.
We explain that we are a balloon that accumulates a lot of anger: we are about to explode because we have negative emotions and the lungs fill with air and the belly swells. In this phase, they inhale deeply through their nose and hold the air for a few seconds.
To get rid of this negative emotion, we exhale the air through our mouth and explain that when we do it we feel more relaxed and more at ease. The exercise is repeated a few times until the children have mastered the technique.
With older children, we can use a real balloon, as long as there is supervision. The first phase consists of blowing with intensity to fill as much as possible the balloon. In the second, they slowly release the air from within.
Mindfulness: one of the best relaxation techniques for older children
Mindfulness, also known as Mindfulness is a technique in which people learn to connect with the present moment. There are many exercises of this type that we can teach children. To practice them, you must adopt a comfortable posture and are quiet.
A simple mindfulness exercise can be to teach them to focus their attention on their breathing. Another activity can be to contemplate the flame of a candle, the movement of the clouds, or close your eyes and concentrate on the sounds that surround you.
Mindfulness can also be practiced in motion. For example, an activity that children tend to like very much is going to a park or a forest and there experimenting with the sounds of their footsteps, the texture of plants and trees, or the different smells that are identified in nature.
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Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation
This method is one of the classics in psychology. It is based on the contraction and relaxation of different muscle groups. The advantage of this technique is that it can be practiced in almost any situation without the people around them noticing, so it can be useful in an examination or situation that upsets the child.
This should be in a comfortable posture, either sitting in a chair with the arms resting on the legs or lying on the floor. It is recommended to do the exercise with your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths before starting.
Then we give concrete instructions of which muscle group to tense. It is common to start with the hands: “Close your hands as tightly as you can without hurting yourself. Focus on the tension in your fists and hold it there for a few seconds. Now gently relax them and feel the difference between tension and relaxation.
The same exercise is performed with arms, shoulders, back, legs, feet, abdomen, eyes, jaw, and any other muscle that is easy to tense and release. The child learns to identify the tension in his body and how to eliminate it properly. To be effective in a real context, it is key that you incorporate exercise into your daily routine or practice it as often as possible. 
Other relaxation techniques for children
In addition to the techniques described, many other strategies can help children relax. Some of them are the following:
- Coloring mandalas.
- Deep breathing.
- Viewing relaxing images.
- Guided meditations adapted to a children’s audience.
- Create a stress ball or similar object.
- Practice some simple yoga poses.
- Relaxation techniques for children are varied
The important thing is to find the relaxation technique for children that best suits your characteristics and from which you can get the most benefit. If various techniques do not work or the child has symptoms that we do not know how to manage, it is advisable to consult with the pediatrician or a specialist in child psychology.
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