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Supporting neurodivergent children

Children with neurodivergence, such as ADHD, autism, or sensory processing disorders, often struggle with relaxation and stress management. As their brains are wired differently, they can have difficulty calming their minds and bodies, leading to increased anxiety and meltdowns.

However, there are several strategies and activities that can help children with neurodivergence relax and unwind. One effective way to help neurodivergent children relax is through the use of mindfulness and guided imagery techniques. These practices can help children focus their attention, calm their bodies, and reduce anxiety.

Guiding children through a body scan exercise, where they focus on each part of their body and consciously relax their muscles, can help. Simple visualization exercises, where children imagine themselves in a peaceful, calming place can also be useful.

Sensory play is another valuable tool. Sensory activities, such as playing with sensory bins, kinetic sand, or fidget toys, can help children regulate their sensory input and calm their nervous system. You can also create a calming sensory corner in your home or classroom, with items such as soft blankets, weighted blankets, calming essential oils, or calming music.

Regular physical activity is also important for helping neurodivergent children relax. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural stress relievers, and can help children regulate their emotions and energy levels. Encourage children to engage in activities that they enjoy, whether it’s going for a walk, dancing, yoga, or playing sports.

It’s also important to create a calm and structured environment for neurodivergent children. Establish consistent routines, provide clear expectations, and give plenty of warning before transitions. Create a quiet, organized space for children to retreat to when they need a break, and teach them coping strategies, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. Relaxation looks different for every child. Some children may find comfort in drawing, listening to music, or reading, while others may prefer physical activities or sensory experiences. Encourage your child to explore different relaxation techniques and find what works best for them.

Here are three exercises that can help neurodivergent children relax and unwind:

Calming Breath Exercise:
– Have the child sit or lie down in a comfortable position. – Encourage them to take slow, deep breaths in through their nose and out through their mouth.
– Have them place their hand on their belly and feel it rise and fall with each breath.
– Guide them in counting to four as they inhale, holding for a count of four, and exhaling for a count of four.
– Repeat this exercise several times, focusing on the rhythm of the breath to help calm the mind and body.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
– Have the child sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
– Starting with their toes, encourage them to tense each muscle group in their body for a few seconds, then release and relax.
– Move upward through their legs, abdomen, arms, shoulders, and finally their face and neck, repeating the tense-and-release pattern.
– Encourage them to focus on the sensation of relaxation and release tension from each muscle group.
– This exercise can help children become more aware of the physical signs of stress and how to release them.

Visualization Exercise:
– Guide the child to close their eyes and imagine themselves in a peaceful, calming place, such as a beach, forest, or garden.
– Encourage them to use all their senses to fully immerse themselves in the visualization – what do they see, hear, smell, and feel in this safe space?
– Have them imagine taking slow, deep breaths in this tranquil environment, feeling a sense of calm and relaxation wash over them.
– Allow the child to stay in this visualization for a few minutes before gently bringing them back to the present moment.
– Visualization exercises can help children create a mental refuge for times of stress and anxiety.

Our Quiet Spaces MP3, Nature MP3 and Soothe ME MP3 are most suitable for children with Neurodivergence.

Visit our MP3 Store to see the full range of Relax Kids Audios here
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