By: Allison Petro, LMHC
Is your child going through a difficult time? Perhaps you are concerned that your child is anxious or maybe your child has experienced an upsetting and confusing event also known as a trauma. When children are anxious or have experienced or witnessed an upsetting event, it can manifest itself in many ways including: trouble sleeping, behavioral issues, trouble paying attention in school, anger outbursts, or physical responses in their bodies (rapid heartrate, stomach aches, etc.).
As your child’s parent or caregiver, you can help your child calm down his/her body by teaching him/her simple relaxation techniques that are fun. Here are 4 relaxation techniques to try with your child:
Focused Belly Breathing
Instruct your child to close his/her eyes and to breathe in deeply so that the belly protrudes during inhalation and withdraws during exhalation. One creative way to teach this to younger children is to have the child lie on the floor or bed and put a book or stuffed animal on his/her belly. When the object rises during inhalation, they are doing belly breathing correctly. You can also encourage your child to count to 5 during inhalation and then again during exhalation.
Children love to blow bubbles! Take your child outside or make an afternoon of it by going to a local park to blow bubbles with your child. Blowing bubbles forces your child to breathe deeply, which helps to calm down his/her nervous system.
Read a Book to Your Child that Teaches Relaxation Skills
There are a number of children’s books available to teach your child relaxation skills. Two of my favorites include “Peaceful Piggy Meditation” by Kerry Lee MacLean and “The Penguin Who Lost Her Cool” by Marla Sobel.
We all know that aerobic activity is important for your child’s physical health, but it also helps your child’s mental health. Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones while stimulating the production of chemicals in the brain that boost mood. So have your child put down the devices and get outside and play or join a local or school sports team.
If you are worried about your child and need additional assistance, call today at 407-622-1770 or click here to book an appointment or complimentary 15-minute consultation with Allison!
About Allison: In addition to utilizing talk therapy, Allison uses creative arts therapies (art, music, play therapy, etc.), TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with children/adolescents and EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy) to help her clients explore their feelings, behaviors and inner dialogue. Her goal for each client is to help him/her develop coping skills and a plan to move through pain and experience healing. Click here for Allison’s full bio.