Just Take a Deep Breath
We’re either feeling it or talking about it, but the subject is all around us. What we’re talking about is stress. Stress seems to be almost an accepted part of life these days, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to protect our children from the tension and anxiety it feels to be overloaded. May we offer one word of advice: relax.
Babies know how to relax. They are born knowing it. There is no more peaceful sight than a sleeping child. They don’t have a care in the world. Shouldn’t they be able to hold onto this peaceful feeling while they are still children? What can we do at home and at school to help?
We’ve been experiencing a cold spell lately, and perhaps one good thing that has come of it is that it has provided some of us with a good excuse to stay at home and curl up with a good book, watch an old movie, or play a board game with the family—just relaxing.
At school, there should also be a time to relax. Our youngest children have recess (which often serves the opposite purpose of relaxation; it gives them the opportunity to burn off some excess energy); but many teachers also build into their schedule a time for quiet rest and relaxation.
With what we know about stress, it makes sense to be even more proactive in helping our children to learn how to relax. One method that can be taught to children is yoga. Yoga has been found to be very helpful in achieving a feeling of relaxation, and classes can take a short yoga break and practice some of the deep breathing exercises together.
Taking time out from a school day to relax in this way gives each child the chance to focus on themselves and measure how they are affected by all the activity that makes up their day. When breathing deep, you are asked to think pleasant, peaceful thoughts, or to imagine yourself in a comfortable, cozy favorite place. You automatically block out what has been annoying you and concentrate on feeling calm. While being part of a class that works and learns together is a very positive experience, we need to reinforce to each child that he or she is an individual and teach them how to help themselves if they begin to feel overloaded.
At home, especially on weekends and on busy evenings, be aware of all the different things on your children’s schedule, and help them find some time for relaxation. In addition to the physical benefits your children will experience by making the conscious effort to relax, they will be learning to appreciate the value of relaxation, and it is hoped that this lesson will stay with them throughout life.#