Why relaxation is important for children

Family relaxing in bed
With so much going on in their lives, children need to find time to simply unwind, put their feet up, and have some all important 'me-time'. We take a look at the educational and psychological benefits of encouraging children to relax.

Recent research carried out by the Cambridge-based Primary Review says many schoolchildren are suffering from ‘deep anxiety’ and are just as overwhelmed as their parents by the messages, instructions and choices thrown at them each day.

A child’s fragile and still-developing brain is less suited to handling stress and negative emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness or sorrow, particularly over longer periods of time.

The fact that just under 170,000 UK children were seen by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in 2006 gives some indication of the scale of the problem. Still, many others fall though the net, particularly those with complex needs and boys, who find it more difficult to ask for help than girls.

The benefits of relaxation for children

It is obvious why good mental health is essential to good learning. A relaxed child is able to think more constructively and positively. They have the space to step back to reflect on issues and their behaviour is vastly improved.

“Tension is so bad for concentration,” says Marneta Viegas of Relax Kids. “It can affect children’s performance in school, their interaction with adults and peers, and the way they perceive themselves.”

Marneta founded Relax Kids in 2003 to help teachers and parents teach children to relax through the use of stories, music and gentle yoga activities. Her products come in the form of books, posters and CDS that many teachers have also used to inspire oral and written storytelling.

Help your child relax

  • Create a comfy space for your child to relax in – throw in cushions, teddy bears, pictures, pastel colours, a fish tank…
  • Encourage your child to tell you if they are tired or do not feel like doing an activity you have planned
  • Do not overload your child with too many out-of-school activities
  • Before bedtime, help your child to relax with a warm bath, bedtime story or a guided meditation CD
  • Yoga is an excellent way to help kids relax and concentrate on their breathing and posture