There’s nothing that makes me happier than to read stories about child advocacy. Maybe it’s because I’ve connected to my own unmet needs surrounding it or because I see on a daily basis the profound effect that standing up for a child can have on a child’s sense of self. Whatever it is, it’s a nice thing to witness.
If you have a kid, know a kid, or want to be prepared for when you meet one, checkout this recent post from Kids Health. Although the article is targeted to caregivers of children with serious illness, the meditation tips and relaxation techniques presented to help children to refocus their attention away from pain can be used with any child needing to learn to calm down.
Pain and stress can leave a child breathing faster and shallower, or even holding his or her breath — all of which can actually keep the stress response going and heighten the intensity of pain. Paying attention to breathing can help calm the mind.
Try this exercise with your child:
- Step 1. Sit or lie comfortably and put one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest.
- Step 2. Close your eyes and try to relax all of your muscles, one by one, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Don’t forget to relax the muscles in face, neck, and jaw; you may be storing a lot of tension there.
- Step 3. Breathe deeply and regularly for several minutes— and try to make your stomach (abdomen) rise and fall, not only your chest. This will help you deepen your breath.
- Step 4. Pay attention to each breath; try to turn all your thoughts to each inhale … exhale. As you breathe out, imagine the tension leaving your body with the breath.
At first, it may be difficult for you and your child to focus on breathing. Distracting thoughts are normal — but rather than following a thought and letting it consume you, try to let it drift out of your mind, like a balloon.
Get more meditation and relaxation techniques for children here.