Simple exercises to help kids feel calm and confident
Mindfulness and relaxation exercises can help your child manage stress and anxiety, sleep better, concentrate, feel more calm and in control. It is easy to integrate and once it is a habit that children will come to enjoy.
Start a regular practice of mindfulness, meditation or quiet reflection each day for yourself. When your child sees you doing this and see the benefits and effects on your mood and behaviour, they will show more interest.
Create a calm corner or a special place with blankets and cushions. If there is space, let your child build a relaxing den. They will start to love coming to their special place.
Keep the practice short and simple for your child.
Use simple relaxation/visualisation books or Relax Kids CDs to help children relax and meditate.
Build a regular short practice together- even if it is only 2-5 minutes. You could set a timer so they know when it is coming to an end.
Combine the session with massage and hugs after and time to chat and children will come to appreciate and love their quality time.
Try simple breathing exercises where they breathe in and out deeply, repeating “I am peaceful” in their mind.
Here are some simple and fun exercises to try with your child.
Button of Brilliance
Tell your child that they have a magic button on their body. The button can be on their right elbow or right shoulder. When they press their button of brilliance, they start to feel great. Try and encourage them to smile while they touch the button of brilliance. They can imagine they are breathing in brilliance and shining like a brilliant star. They can imagine that everything they say and do is brilliant. Start using the button of brilliance often and remind your child they have it.
At any point in the day you can touch their button or they can touch their button of brilliance.
As they get used to their button of brilliance they can test it in more difficult situations.
Cloak of Protection
Tell your child they have an invisible Cloak of Protection. They can put on their imaginary cloak of protection and close their eyes and feel how it feels and breathe in some calming breaths. Tell your child that once the cloak of protection is on, any nasty words from others simply bounce off it and they are safe. Let them put on their cloak on the way to school and they can take it off when they come home or go to bed.
Ask your child to think of people who are really confident. They can choose their favourite book or film characters, sports personalities or superheroes. Get them to stay still and imagine all those confident feelings entering their body. Breathe in confidence. Feel confidence all the way to their toes!
As they have these confident thoughts and feelings ask them to squeeze their thumb and first finger together. This is their confidence switch and they can use it whenever they have a situation that they need a bit of extra confidence. All they have to do is squeeze their finger and thumb and feel those powerful confident feelings flooding back into the body.
Pants of Peace
Close your eyes and become as still as possible. Become aware of your breathing. Feel the softness of your breath going in and coming out again. Spend a few moments watching your breathing. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Imagine you are standing in front of your wardrobe. You see your Pants of Peace. How do they feel in your hands?
Are they soft like clouds and cotton wool? Are they as light as feathers? How do you feel when you hold your Pants of Peace? Put the pants of peace on and notice how you feel all through your body. Do you feel still and calm? Do you feel peaceful and quiet wearing your Pants of Peace?
What do you feel like doing now you are wearing your Pants of Peace? Can you think of times where you need to put on your Pants of Peace?
How does peace feel inside your body. What does peace mean to you? Take a deep breath in and breathe out slowly. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in and say 'I am peaceful, breathe out and say “I am peaceful”.
Extract from Pants of Peace book by Marneta Viegas
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