What do you think of when you hear the word ‘relax’? Does your mind immediately jump to sleep? Or, do you think of a screen-free hobby that you enjoy or an activity that helps calm you down?
Now, think about the kids in your life. How do they relax? Do they have non-sleep, screen-free, and relaxing activities that they practice when their energy needs recharging or when they’re experiencing BIG feelings?
Taking time to relax with non-sleep activities has many benefits including strengthening the body and brain and it gives kids a chance to process events that happened throughout their day. Making sure that kids have screen-free activities is also important because the brain doesn’t have the chance to relax when it’s stimulated by a screen. The opportunity to mindfully reflect on the day allows kids to think about their feelings and identify the emotions they may have been feeling at any given time.
Some common screen-free relaxing activities include reading, low-intensity exercise like walking or yoga, journaling, coloring, deep breathing, working on a puzzle, or playing an instrument. If a child has a few favorite ways to relax, that’s awesome! But giving them variety can help keep them excited and engaged in relaxing. To maintain kids’ enthusiasm for relaxing, here are 5 of fit’s favorite ways to relax no matter where you are!
1. A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga for Kids. Yoga encourages mindfulness and helps kids strengthen their physical and mental abilities. If kids are new to yoga, start with simple poses from the Grow Your Flow cards. If you are ready for more, we created the fitFlow Activity to make practicing yoga flows - or a sequence of four poses - easy, and this free printable set of flow cards that you can print and take with you on the go!
2. Breathing Techniques to Inspire Mindfulness in Kids. Deep breathing exercises and meditation can calm the body and settle a busy mind. Deep breathing doesn’t have to be perfect, and practice makes progress. Pick an exercise and incorporate mindful breathing into a child’s daily routine. It can help them calm down before bedtime or regulate their emotions during a tantrum.
3. Mindful Moments Cards. Mindfulness is all about giving yourself moments throughout your day to enjoy the little things and relax, physically and mentally. How often do you sit down and enjoy your meals? How many times in a day do you stop and stretch or take some deep breaths? Choose a card from the deck and find one of twenty cool activities to do with kids, anytime and anywhere.
4. Take a Break Basket. Having screen-free activities on hand makes it easy for kids to recognize that relaxing can be fun. Check out this article for inspiration on how you can create a Take a Break Basket for the kids in your life!
5. Cozy Spot. A cozy spot is a calming and safe space kids can go to when they need a break to self-regulate. Learn how you can create a cozy spot for kids anywhere!
Don’t forget that children model what you do. When you find yourself wanting to relax, try to opt for one of the screen-free activities. Or, when you’re feeling overwhelmed with big feelings, don’t be afraid to use your own cozy spot or safe space to take some time for your emotional health. Your kids will learn to do the same!