Monday, February 23, 2009

Meditation Monday: The Relaxation Station

Let's face it; kids today are running on overload! From afterschool activities, homework, and family obligations to spending lots of free time looking at computer screens and video game monitors, kids today are overstimulated. Many do not have the ability to sit still and do "nothing". But these same kids are craving stillness! They want to experience it and understand that once they know how to access a quieter mind, it's there for them whenever they may need it.

In my Kindergarten classroom, students learn breathing and relaxation techniques and are encouraged to take a break in the Relaxation Station whenever they feel they need it. At first, they take every opportunity to visit, experimenting with the new freedom, but later they tend to only use it when they are experiencing tiredness or high emotion. The Relaxation Station can be easily created using a soft rug, a few big pillows and one or two focal points such as a simple picture of a flower on the wall or of an animal resting. Adults can model sitting quietly or laying down with a blanket breathing deeply for a few moments before returning to their regular activities. Having such a spot can empower children to identify when they need a break.

Deep breathing also empowers kids. When two children are having a conflict in the class, both are directed to take 5-10 "balloon" breaths before attempting to discuss the problem. In my experience, 9 times out of 10 they forget their problem by the time they finish the breaths, or at least are able to communicate about the problem more easily.

Balloon Breath:

1. Place your hands over your chest, where the lungs are.
2. Close your eyes and imagine a colorful balloon inside you.
3. Breathe in through your nose and imagine the breath filling the balloon. Feel the lungs filling with fresh air and oxygen.
4. Exhale through the nose and release the breath. Allow it to float away.
5. Repeat a few times. (1-3 times for younger children, a few more for older children)
6. Open your eyes and describe the color of your balloon. How do you feel?

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2 comments:

  1. Looking forward to what Tuesday will bring. Joy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking forward to what Tuesday will bring. Joy

    ReplyDelete

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