Calming Techniques for Parents and Kids
The Peaceful Parenting Newsletter
A free e-mail newsletter from Naomi Drew
Spring is finally here, and with it a sense of renewal. Yet even with the infusion of balmy breezes, daffodils, and budding trees, we still face the stresses of life. Today, a little gift for you and your children -- two guided visualizations to help you calm, relax, and renew. Doing guided visualizations like the ones you are about to read help can help you and your children on a number of levels. Each time we do calming exercises, we turn down the volume on stress, and prevent some of the tension that leads to conflict. Guided visualizations also give us a way of detaching from negative emotions like fear and anger.
The Magic Box technique is one I have used for years with children of all ages, and they seem to love it. One little girl told me that using this technique has helped her have fewer nightmares. A teen I worked with told me about using this same technique to calm herself at the end of a stressful day.
Try it with your children. Have them sit in a comfortable spot, take some slow deep breaths, and go through the exercise below. After your children are familiar with The Magic Box technique, they will be able to use it independently. By the way, you can adapt it and use it yourself. I do all the time, and it really does help to keep me calm.
The next guided visualization, The Beach, is for both of you as well. This one is especially good at bedtime. Tape record it and play it back to yourself after the kids are in bed -- a great way to drift into a calm ad peaceful sleep.
Enjoy, be well, and happy spring!
Calming Exercise: The Magic Box
Have your children close their eyes, breathe deeply, and think about a place theyve been that made them feel happy, peaceful and safe. Say, It can be as close as your own backyard, or far away as a vacation spot. Make sure each child has a peaceful place to focus on. Share ideas. If someone cant think of one, have that child focus on the beach this time. An image of their own may come later.
Ask your children to close their eyes or look down and bring their peaceful place fully into their imaginations. Say, Picture every detail and pretend youre back there now. Ask, What do you see, feel, hear, and smell? Allow time for the children to envision, letting the images expand and grow.
After a few minutes, say, Open your eyes and open your hand. (Model this part).
Say, In your hand is a magic box, and invisible magic box. Open the lid, reach into your imagination, and take out your peaceful place. Shrink it down until it is very tiny. Now put your peaceful place into your magic box. Close the lid and put your magic box into your pocket, and if you dont have a pocket, put it in your shirt. Your magic box will be with your forever, and you will be able to use it whenever you want from this day on. Whenever you feel upset, angry, frightened, or tense, all youll need to do is reach into your pocket, pull out your magic box, open the lid, take out your peaceful place and put it into your imagination. Then close your eyes, breathe deeply, and let your peaceful place fill your imagination completely.
Follow-up: Your children can draw, paint, or write about their peaceful places. Hang up whatever they create to remind them of the power of their imaginations, and the power they have within to calm themselves.
Have your children make a list of several peaceful places they might want to put into their magic box. That way theyll have a choice of places to envision.
Calming Exercise: The Beach
Close your eyes and take a nice slow deep breath in through the nose. Bring your breath all the way down into your stomach. Gently expand your stomach like a balloon as you breathe in. Slowly release the breath and let your stomach shrink. Now take another slow deep breath in, expand your stomach, and slowly release it. One more time: breathe slowly in, and slowly out.
Continue breathing slowly and deeply. With your eyes closed. Pretend your mind is a movie screen. Nothing is on it except for the color blue, light blue. Now the blue becomes a big, full sky on a summer day. The sky is filled with fluffy white clouds and a shining yellow sun. Beneath the sky is the beach.
Walk onto the beach and feel the sand under your feet. It is soft and warm between your toes. Look out toward the ocean. The waves are very calm. Watch them roll in and roll out, in and out. Each time a wave rolls back to sea it leaves a shiny imprint on the sand. Touch the cool, wet sand.
Now let water cover your feet. It feels cool and refreshing. Put your hands in the water and feel the droplets of a wave splash on your body. Now walk into the water and let a tiny wave lift you up. You are floating. Another wave comes along and lifts you higher. Your body moves with the gentle motion of the water. And as you float you feel each wave rolling under you,
lifting you up
and lowering you gently down.
The water feels warm and soothing.
The sun shines on your face and arms.
You hear the sounds of seagulls,
you smell the salty water.
You feel a deep sense of peace as you float on the waves.
Now return to the shore. Rest on the beach and let the breeze calm you even more. When you open your eyes you will be perfectly calm and relaxed. This feeling will stay with you throughout the rest of your day and will follow you into your dreams.
Reprinted from Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World by Naomi Drew, 2002
If your organization or school would like to schedule a workshop or speaking engagement, you can reach Naomi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naomi Drew is the author of three books, all available through Amazon.com:
Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids (Kensington Publishers)
Learning the Skills of Peacemaking (Jalmar Press)
The Peaceful Classroom in Action (Jalmar Press)
Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World will be released in September of 2002 (Kensington Publishers)
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Copyright Naomi Drew, August, 2001 All Rights Reserved.
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Love and Peace to All of You.