Thursday, December 8, 2011

Learn to relax and your children will too

Most parents eagerly await that moment when the children are tucked away in bed and all is quiet. Finally, you can relax. But do you really know how to relax?

If you think just sitting down for a few moments when the house is silent will promote a calm feeling within, you may be surprised to find out that relaxing is actually a learned skill. For our children this means that if we don't know how to relax then neither will they.

Your children can learn to be
calm and cool like this little guy
Children learn many skills and behaviors simply from observing and modeling their parents. Remember the first time your little toddler picked up a toy and used it like a phone, murmuring into it and sounding startlingly like you! If we lose our temper easily, they likely do too. If we are calm and know how to relax, then our children will also learn to relax.

There are plenty of different ways and techniques to relax, but for newcomers, five minutes a day is a quick but effective way to begin to practice relaxation.

For babies and very young children, put on soft music, dim the lights and cuddle together just listening. Be still or rock very slowly and gently. Be sure to rock back and forth. Sideways rocking is stimulating, the opposite of your goal! You're promoting the skill of relaxation as well as sharing a meaninful moment of bonding with your little one.

For active preschoolers, help them recharge in the afternoon or settle down to sleep at night by having them lay still and close their eyes. Instruct them to take a deep breath in and out of their nose. Invite them to notice how the air tickles their nostrils as they breathe. Then, have them take one deep breath in and another out as you count. In on "one," out on "two" and so on. For an afternoon recharge stop at twenty. To help them drift off to sleep continue to thirty or fifty, or even one-hundred!

For older children, sit quietly and comfortably together for five minutes. Before you begin, encourage them to breathe naturally and put their mind's focus on their breath. Then, with your eyes closed, breathe in and out. Let all other thoughts come and go, always returning your focus to your breath.

Learning to relax is a skill that benefits every aspect of our health and development. Eventually, your child or teen will be able to practice relaxation on their own whenever they need to and so will you!

*** The origianal version of this article was published previously by me on,but I found it to be particularly relevent to this wonderful time of holiday stress!


  1. I am going to have to take this advice it is really hard for me to relax and I get frustrated very easily and I have noticed that my daughter is becoming the same way. My mom was the same way and I need to make sure I break that cycle.

  2. For at least a year, I "counted" Griffin to sleep slowly after reading to him at naptime and bedtime. It would often take through over one hundred before he fell asleep (and it didn't work every time), but it sure helped him learn the numbers in French!

    I also recorded myself reciting the numbers on his kiddo mp3 player so that he could listen to them even when I wasn't around.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!


Go on, tell me what you think!