Tag Archives: social and emotional skills

Reduce Stress with Spaghetti Body

What is Spaghetti Body?

Spaghetti Body is a relaxation technique known as Progressive Muscle Relaxation . Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing muscle groups. In this activity, kids tense and relax muscles while pretending to be uncooked and cooked spaghetti.

What are the benefits?

Spaghetti Body teaches children how to relax their muscles when they are tight. Research shows progressive muscle relaxation can reduce anxiety and stress. Additionally, Spaghetti Body helps improve attention, mindful awareness, concentration, and self-concept.

How to practice Spaghetti Body at home:

  • Make you body straight and tight like a piece of uncooked spaghetti. Glue everything together and squeeze.
  • Breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Your belly should rise as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
  • Notice how you feel. This is what happens to your body when you are mad or nervous.
  • Imagine that your uncooked spaghetti noodle is being placed in a pan of hot water. The noodle is wet and it begins so soften.
  • Breathe in as you curl your toes in and scrunch your feet. Hold for one, two, three. Breathe out as you start to wiggle your toes and let your feet begin to soften just like a wet, warm, noodle. Wet noodles are relaxed and wiggly – not tight and stiff.
  • As you breath in tighten your legs. One, two, three. As you breathe out start to wiggle your legs and let them relax.
  • Take a deep breath in and make your hands into tight fists and your arms straight and tight. Hold for one, two, three, now let all the air out as you relax your fingers and arms into a wet wiggly noodle.
  • Take a deep breath in as you bring your shoulders up by your ears. Scrunch your shoulders. One, two, three. Breathe out as you let your shoulders begin to soften and relax down your back.
  • Close your eyes and scrunch up your entire face. Breathe in. One, two three, release your breath and let your face relax.
  • I like to squeeze a fresh lemon on cooked spaghetti noodles. If you would like lemon squeezed on your noodle raise your hand I will put a cotton ball with lemon essential oil in it.
  • Ta-da – you are a cooked spaghetti noodle! Scan your noodle to make sure all the tightness is gone. Let your body feel relaxed and calm. Breathe in and out through your nose slowly. Notice how you feel.

At Mindful Child, we like to pair Spaghetti Body with Spaghetti Pose, which is an activity from Mindfulness for Children: 150+ Activities for Happier, Healthier, Stress-Free Kids, by Dr. Tracy. This adds extra benefits such as deep breathing, tactile discrimination, and flexibility.

If you’d like to learn more activities for home or the classroom sign up for the Mindful Child Teacher Training and become a kid’s yoga teacher!





Shift Your Perspective With Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations help children to think positively and believe in themselves.

Materials

Affirmation coloring book or coloring page
Colors, colored pencils or markers
Ambient music

What is Positive Affirmation Coloring?

Positive Affirmation Coloring is a simply buying or downloading an affirmation coloring book and coloring with your child. These can be purchased inexpensively online at Etsy or at local bookstores. Coloring can have therapeutic benefits and be a fantastic mindful activity for children. When coloring is combined with the mood-changing powers of positive affirmations it doubles the calming effects.

What are the benefits of affirmation coloring?

Coloring books with positive affirmations are uplifting and can shift your child’s perspective, creating a positive mindset. Coloring coupled with ambient relaxing music can help your child de-stress and relax.

What do I say?

Let’s sit up tall and practice mindful listening before we begin. While we listen to the relaxing music we are going to color an affirmation page. Affirmations are short positive phrases that focus on what you want out of life. I’m going to pass around the coloring book and I want you to pick an affirmation that means something to you. Tear out that page. As you color, breathe in and out through your nose. Think about the words printed on the page. Say the words in your head as you color. Notice how you feel.

If you are wanting more ways to include positive affirmations in your child’s day or even a children’s yoga class, buy my book, Mindfulness for Children, it is full of simple activities to enhance positivity and mindfulness in children.

Kindness for Happier, Healthier Kids

Kindness can boost happiness, resilience, and the immune system.

Kindness is being friendly, generous, and considerate. Small acts of kindness have a powerful impact on others.  Science demonstrates that completing kind acts, even if it’s as simple as smiling at a friend, can boost happiness.  This means being kind is contagious, when your child does a kind act for someone it leads to them doing another kind act. Research indicates random acts of kindness can lift your child’s mood, reduce stress, and build the immune system.

Our first rule in aerial yoga classes is to be kind. We teach kids to not only be kind to others, but to the environment, and to themselves.  Cultivating kindness helps your child develop social and emotional skills, confidence, and resilience.  When a child becomes more aware of their own kind behavior it improves their overall well-being.

Three Ways to Teach Kindness to Children:

  1. Read About It. There are several books that teach kindness to young children and stories are a great way for children to learn social emotional skills.  “Have you Filled a Bucket Today” is a story that demonstrates how kindness can fill buckets and make others feel good.
  2. Sign-Up for a Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. Scientists have shown that doing random acts of kindness for two minutes a day can train your brain to be more positive. Kindness challenges can be downloaded for free online.
  3. Kindness Coins. Kindness coins can be purchased inexpensively online. Kindness coins help children build compassion and empathy. They also reinforce positive behavior and kids love them!

Kindness, takes practice, which is why we make it a rule.   Being kind can be taught in the home, classroom or even during an aerial yoga class.  it can be simple and only take a few minutes, but it is important to build it into your child’s day.

References

Kathryn E. Buchanan & Anat Bardi (2010) Acts of Kindness and Acts of Novelty Affect Life Satisfaction, The Journal of Social Psychology, 150:3, 235-237, DOI: 10.1080/00224540903365554
Isen, A. M., & Levin, P. F. (1972). Effect of feeling good on helping: Cookies and kindness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21, 384–388.