Learning How to Unwind
March 13, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

As parents we want our children to succeed even if it´s at a small scale. We strive to guide them in the right direction so they spend time learning what they really like. Whether it´s playing the piano, becoming a wizard at math or speaking Chinese like a native sometimes we offer them so many options and sign them up for so many activities that it can be overwhelming. And if there is something parents shouldn´t forget is that children need to be children and that implies knowing how to unwind and playing just for fun. The playing part is easy to figure out but it´s crucial they learn how to de-stress  in order to avoid lack of sleep, anxiety, fear of confronting one´s own problems or not knowing how to resolve them.

Stay Calm. Every time your daughter trips and falls, she looks over to see how you react and if you looked worried, she´ll probably cry. Children, no matter how old they are, learn to interpret and imitate their parents´ emotional reactions. If you´re feeling more anxious than normal, you transmit that feeling to your children. That´s why it´s important to learn to keep calm when an unexpected problem occurs or when you get bad news. If your daughter sees you react calmly, she too will learn how.


Venting. We all know that in order to relax we need to try to get rid of everything that is producing stress. Even if its just for a while and mentally. This is why it´s good to vent. If you notice your son is a bit nervous or too anxious or angry to unwind, talk to him. Ask him how his day was and if there was something about it he didn´t like. Without asking too many questions, invite him to write down a list of things he did that day or things he didn´t like. Once he´s finished, make a paper plane so he can make it fly and help him burn it.  End the game by writing a list of the things he liked the most of the day.

Exercising Relaxing. As parents we know that if we turn a task into a game, our children most likely will want to participate. A “game” you can both play together and that will help him unwind is to lie on the floor facing up, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Ask your son to remember a landscape from your last trip together or a special moment that you have shared. Whether it´s the big tree in grandma´s back yard or the beach and seagulls. Guide him to imagine a peaceful scene. Together you can play at remembering and visualizing the colors, temperature and sounds while you keep breathing. This will not only create a nice bonding moment together but will teach him to unwind all by himself when he´s feeling anxious.

Pump Down the Volume.  At a certain moment in the day, it´s important to turn down the volume and tone of voice in order to create a relaxing context. This will make putting your children to sleep much easier. Try avoiding stimulating games and make sure they don´t play during dinner. A warm bath, a good story and some cuddling will help him unwind and fall asleep.

Photo Credits: Juhasonin 

Photo Credits: Anne-Cathrine Nyberg 










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