Relaxation Techniques for Children According to Their Age

Relaxation techniques for children are important and vary according to age. They promote the management of intense emotions, such as anger.
Relaxation Techniques for Children According to Their Age
Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis

Written and verified by degree in physical education and sports Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis.

Last update: 13 January, 2023

Although it may seem like an exaggeration, relaxation techniques for children are extremely important. Little ones also experience complex situations and environments and often lack the skills to control what they’re feeling.

As a mother, it’s easy to analyze situations differently. You think that only adult life is stressful and forget that your childhood may have been very complex, especially on an emotional level.

An important point about children is that many of the emotions they feel are totally new to them. At the same time, the ability to analyze them is still in the process of development.

Therefore, children also need to relax, learn to control themselves, and above all, manage these types of sensations.

Relaxation techniques for children

Childhood is the stage of life in which the foundations for the rest of existence are formed. For this reason, emotional reactions can be exaggerated or mismanaged if they’re not properly accompanied.

This isn’t the fault of the children themselves, as it’s to be expected when the reaction to something new isn’t in accordance with the situation. Something similar happens with stressful situations, which make little ones experience anger, rage, despair, and many other things.

If this happens to them, the best thing to do is to implement certain relaxation techniques for children, oriented according to their age.

Relaxation techniques for children from 0 to 3 years old

A mother massaging her baby.

Stressed babies? If this is your first time experiencing the beautiful process of parenting, you’ll probably be surprised by this. However, infants and toddlers are often more impatient than you think.

The lack of autonomy and independence is the main factor for a baby not being able to relax on their own and that’s why we must help them.

Combining music with relaxing massages is one of the best relaxation techniques for children under 3 years old. However, we recommend resorting to music first, just when a tantrum’s about to take place or a few moments after it.

Regarding massage, it stands out as a good alternative in moments of peace and quiet. Try to use special oils for the baby’s skin or neutral lotions as a way to move your hands more smoothly.

The main benefit of massage is that it reduces the occurrence of stress crises or unrestrained impulses. This is indicated by a systematic review published in the journal of the School of Medicine at the Universidad de la Sabana, in Colombia.

However, massage and music therapy can work hand in hand. It’s best to find the rhythm that your child likes, and this can be determined by reading their gestures and their reactions to the music.

Relaxation techniques for children from 4 to 7 years old

The psychophysical development of children at this age indicates that not only their physical capacities have evolved. The emotional aspect has gained more ground, but they still have difficulties calming down.

In order to relax older children, it’s a good idea to implement playful activities. Concrete exercises can be boring and monotonous, but games are better accepted.

Keep in mind that the play activities you implement should emphasize breathing management. A clear example is the “ant and elephant” game.

The objective of this activity focuses on emulating the breathing of a small animal such as an ant or a large one such as an elephant. Children can choose the animal they like the most to carry out the exercise.

Relaxation techniques for children between 8 and 12 years old

The older the child, the more advanced the control over emotions tends to be. Therefore, children in this age range know more about their emotional state and what triggers can destabilize them.

Such self-control favors relaxation techniques for children, which can be a little more advanced than the previous ones.

A clear example of this is the practice of sports activities or disciplines of greater concentration, such as yoga or Pilates. Both combine body management with breathing and concentration.

Other techniques that can be implemented in children from 8 to 12 years old are arts and crafts activities, as they not only contribute to improving their mood but also stimulate relaxation and tranquility.

It’s important to remember that, because they’re a little older, they’re still entertained with play and recreational activities. Therefore, these shouldn’t be put on the back burner.

A child making paper snowflakes.

Relaxation techniques for children: What benefits do they offer?

For obvious reasons, these types of techniques are responsible for relaxing children or mitigating the effects of stress in complex situations. Besides that, they also contribute to improving other relevant aspects of children’s lives. For example, quality of sleep, muscle relaxation, and well-being.

However, the above techniques are just a few examples that you can get started with. But you can turn to a specialist in this area for guidance on other alternatives.

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  • María Eugenia Serrano-Gómez, María Camila Moreno-Pérez, Maritza Alejandra Gaitán-Montero, Adriana Marcela Susa-Angarita, Jessica Gómez-Henao Ginna Paola Suárez-Delgado & Katherin Sánchez-Méndez. (2018). Revista de la Facultad de Medicina. Efectos del masaje terapéutico sobre la ansiedad y el estrés en población pediátrica. http://www.scielo.org.co/pdf/rfmun/v66n3/0120-0011-rfmun-66-03-357.pdf

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