Children feel stressed, tense and anxious at times too. These techniques will help you relax your child naturally.
Preparing For Sleep
- A warm bath or shower before bed will help your child feel warm, comfortable and sleepy.
- A glass of warm milk seems to have a comforting and relaxing effect. Of course, ensure your child brushes his or her teeth afterwards.
- Read your child a bedtime story. This not only serves to relax them, with the soothing sound of your voice, but is beneficial to their literacy.
- Don’t allow your child to stay up watching TV or playing computer games or video games just before bedtime. These activities will only excite them and make it difficult for them to fall asleep.
- Do gentle stretching exercises with your child to loosen cramped or contracted muscles.
- You could also give your child a gentle massage before bed.
- If you like singing, sing your child a lullaby. Your voice soothes your child as they fall asleep – it relaxes and reassures them.
- Play light relaxing music, like your child’s favorite nursery rhymes or lullabies, or even quiet classical music.
All of the above points should calm your child and help them slowly fall into a deep, pleasant sleep.
Games to Help Tension Relief
- Water games such as water pistols and balloons, swimming, and water slides
- Sand games – building sandcastles or cars in the sand, playing in the sandpit, drawing pictures in the sand, or painting with colored sand (dye some sand with food coloring. Draw a shape on paper with glue, and sprinkle the colored sand across the glue to make the shape appear)
- Mud games – don’t be afraid to get messy! Make mud pies or splash in puddles when it’s raining
- Play with Plasticine (modelling clay)
All of these fun, active games that you and your children can play together will help to relieve their tension. Much better than a computer screen – for both your children and yourself!
Creating Quality Time With Your Children Even When You Don’t Have Time
We all get told we should spend ‘quality time’ with our children. But in reality, life these days is so fast-paced, busy and stressful that we simply don’t have time to put aside to do something special with the kids. Well, this article is for all you busy people (and non-busy people too). It is about how to create a loving and supportive atmosphere even when you are doing other things, so that you and your children feel that ‘quality time’ is all the time. You and your children will be better off for it, and you will see the results in their health, happiness, self esteem and grades.
In the modern world, most parents are both working, and the children either spend the day at a child-care centre, or are ‘key-carrying children’ (that is, they come home from school and use their own personal keys to open the door, and wait for their parents to return from work). Most of the time, you, the parents, who storm in the door after a hard day of work, want to get everything done in the little time that is left (may it be chores, house repairs, computer work, a favorite TV show, making phone calls, and more). Very often, you are angry with your children, as they have not yet finished their homework, or they’ve messed up their rooms, or they did not make themselves anything to eat yet, and so on. Without even noticing it, you keep putting off your children’s demands, even if they attach themselves to your legs. You try to do as much as you can and accommodate for your child’s wishes, and you do it during dinner or during bath time, but unfortunately by that point, your children have driven you mad or have given up and are fixed to the computer or TV. Do not complain about all the hours your child spends lazily in front of the TV or computer screen. This is the bad case. The even worse case is that your child would forget what they want to share with you. Your child would get used to not sharing his or her problems and needs with you which unfortunately will create a reality that your child cuts you, the parent, out of their emotional growth.
Just imagine, what if you were stuck for an additional 30 minutes or hour in traffic on the way home from work, or if you had to work overtime? What if you had to stop on the way back from work to visit a friend or a sick aunt? You should not treat these delays as trivial.
Every day when you return home, put your bag aside, sit in the centre of the house, and call your children to you. Now is the time. The whole day, your children have waited to tell you something very important that happened to them. And if you make them used to the fact that as soon as you enter the door they have your full attention, they will run to you happily, tell, and share. Ask your kids questions and encourage them. “How was your day?” Listen to all the little details. If you’re persistent, you’ll immediately notice many issues and problems when they are just arising. You will be able to nip them in the bud. Make your kids used to the fact that you are there for them, and that everything else can wait. This will also have an immediate positive effect on your kids’ self esteem. Listen from a positive, constructive place. Give a sense of protection and encouragement. With the years, it will be completely clear to your children that you are there for them at any time, not just there in the background, but there with them in the picture. For example, when a little boy tells his Mom that today the teacher punished him for something he did, the Mom responds that all in all, the teacher did the right thing. Even the boy knows that. He learnt a lesson. But that’s not what he expected from his Mom. He expects that she’ll ask and be interested. “How was it to be punished? What did you go through?” The boy needs to remember that even if he was wrong, and the teacher was correct to punish him, that his Mom is on his side showing sympathy and empathy. Only then, and only in the case that the punishment was not justified, should his Mom address the topic of the teacher’s choice of punishment.
The calm, accepting atmosphere that you create will produce an environment of ‘quality time’. From there, it will be much easier for you and your children to choose together what to do with the rest of the evening.
Do not say “in my home, the kids are already fixated to a computer screen and they are already used to entertaining themselves”. You can always change bad habits. From now on, when you get back home, even if your child is sitting in front of a computer, sit next to them. Give them a feeling that you are there for them. Even if initially your child stays fixated to their computer screen or immersed in their personal affairs, persist with your new strategy. Keep on sitting next to them. Eventually, that will have an effect and you will achieve the feeling of partnership described above. This feeling of partnership will substantially decrease tensions, fears, frustrations and anxiety, and will significantly increase their self esteem and sense of worth.