We have come to the end of a very long five weeks. I am really proud of the children for their continued focus and determination to engage in their lessons. I am also very impressed with the resilience of our parents, who have, I am sure, battled with balancing their own work alongside the academic support for their children and the running of the household. Finally I am so grateful to the teachers who have been either running remote learning or supporting our Critical Worker children, alongside their own challenges at home.
But now it is Half Term, a chance for us to take stock and recharge in readiness for the final few weeks of the year. It is going to be important that the children have some “down time”, a chance to rest for a while and take their minds off work for the time being.
“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.” (Bryan McGill
We all have such busy lives these days. Life seems very fast now, ironically perhaps exacerbated as a result of our remote working behaviours recently. As adults we model behaviour to our children. They have been watching us working at maximum effort and we owe it to them to model how to relax, even if just for a little while.
Even very young children can feel stressed and anxious, especially during times of change or upheaval. There are lots of simple activities you can do together to help your child to learn to calm themselves. Being able to recognise and cope with anxiety is a skill that will benefit children for life. Why not try these simple calming activities together and see which ones work for you.
Laughter is an extremely good way to relieve stress and anxiety. Watching a show your child loves or telling jokes can be a great way to relax and handle nervousness. Laughter or feeling stimulated helps decrease stress hormones and relaxes muscles.
Ask your child to stretch their arms above their heads, stand on tiptoes and make themselves as tall as possible, then flop back down. Encourage them to stretch out their muscles to reduce tension.
Listen to calming music
Listening to relaxing music can help children stop and reset. Try different types of music (there are plenty available on YouTube) and find which one works best.
Take a small food item (like a raisin or cracker) and ask your child to examine theirs closely using all of their senses. Listen carefully to the sound it makes as though they have never eaten one before. This technique for mindfulness is about being ‘in the moment’ and focusing completely on what you are currently doing - using all your senses to really experience it. Simple mindfulness exercises can be a great way to help children learn to pause and think before reacting.
Stay as still as you can and simply watch the clouds go by together. Can you spot any shapes among the clouds. This common technique encourages your child to relax and take their mind off other things. You could do this alongside deep breathing to really help your child relax.
There is plenty of research to suggest that gardening helps with mindfulness. Being in touch with nature, breathing in the air and slowing the pace down all contribute to a more relaxed state.
I hope, as a family, you manage to find some time to relax this Half Term holiday and appreciate everything that has been achieved in the last few weeks.