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Relaxation Exercises for Children

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Being able to relax is necessary for true concentration and good health. However, many people, especially children, aren't really sure how to effectively relax. These activities teach them how to do so in fun ways.

One, Two, Three - Breathe

Breathing is at the heart of relaxation. This activity teaches kids how to really breathe.

Instructions

  • Begin by timing the class for 30 seconds. During this time, ask them to count the number of breaths that they take.
  • Now discuss their results as a class. Who had the most? The least? What was the average? How do these changes in breathing change the way we feel?
  • Now count to ten aloud for the class.
  • Count to ten again for the class, but this time ask them to slowly inhale for the full ten seconds.
  • Repeat this process for an exhale.
  • Now have the students reflect on how they felt as their breathing was paced, discussing their ideas as a class.
  • Finally, count the students through ten inhalation and exhalation sessions to practice relaxation.
  • Optional: Begin and end each day with this controlled breathing practice.

Yoga Kids

Yoga pairs controlled breathing with controlled movement. Basic yoga practice is the highlight of this activity for kids.

Instructions

  • Begin by asking students to step away from their desks to an area where everyone has ample room to move and stretch.
  • Now ask the class to sit cross legged on the floor and shut their eyes.
  • Next, have the class begin deep breathing - in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Continuing their controlled breathing, ask the class to move into child's pose by moving onto their knees with their feet tucked under their bottoms and their foreheads on the floor.
  • Have the class hold this position for a minute or so.
  • Next, have them stand and straighten their legs as they place their hands on the floor to form a V shape in downward dog. They should maintain the controlled breathing as they hold this pose for a moment or so.
  • Finally, have the class lay on their backs and grab the bottoms of their feet for the happy baby pose. If they feel comfortable, they can rock gently from side to side as they maintain the controlled breathing.

Squeeze It Out

The systematic tightening and relaxing of muscles help support relaxation. This activity teaches kids this practice.

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