Blo-pens combine mindful art and breathing all at once. Blo-pens give art an airbrushed look and require extra focus and concentration to create pictures. In the middle of a poster board write the word mindfulness in big letters then let the creativity begin. Allow your child to draw their mindfulness pictures with colored pencils and then color in the picture with the blo-pens.
Art and breathing combined double the calming efforts. Using blo-pens to color in pictures increases attention and decreases stress. Creating art boosts creativity, self-esteem, and your child’s artistic ability. Blo-pens enhance deep breathing and mindful awareness.
What to Say
We are going to make mindful art with our breath! Mindfulness is written in the middle of your poster board. Using colored pencils write words and/or draw pictures of your favorite mindfulness activities.
Then we will use the blo-pens to color in the pictures we are have drawn. For example, I wrote relax and I drew a picture of myself laying in mummy pose. I made a tree as it is one of my favorite yoga poses. I then wrote calm, balanced, and focused on the branches. I made a yoga hammock with a heart since I love aerial yoga.
Draw and/or write mindfulness activities that help you feel calm and happy. Choose your colors mindfully and notice what it feels like to color with the blo-pens.
Reflect on the activity, by asking, “How did using the blo-pens differ from drawing with the colored pencils? Was it harder or easier to focus?”
Relaxation Training Quickly Calms the Body and the Mind
Applied relaxation training brings together a number of evidence-based relaxation techniques. The combined effect of these techniques helps reverse the effects of stress quickly and powerfully. Mindful Child Aerial Yoga classes incorporate a variety of research-backed relaxation exercises to help children calm themselves, when they encounter a stressful situation. For this blog, we will focus on one of our favorites, progressive muscle relaxation.
What is Progressive Relaxation Training?
The technique of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) was developed by Jacobson in 1944. Yes, it has been around a LONG time. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) consists of tensing and relaxing individual muscle groups. It helps children to develop body awareness and teaches them how to release muscle tension. When your child practices PMR exercises, they may start from the top of the body and progress to the bottom, or vice versa depending on the exercise. Progressing through muscle groups sequentially makes it easier for children to follow along.
What are the Benefits?
Progressive Muscle Relaxation helps your child recognize the difference between tension and relaxation in each of the major muscle groups. This relaxation technique develops body awareness and has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and pain.
What does the Research Say?
After a 12-week relaxation program, researchers observed significant decreases in young athletes confusion, depression, fatigue, tension, and anger scores. (Hashim, Hanafi, & Yusof, 2011).
Thayer, Newman, and McClain (1994) found exercise to be the most effective mood-regulating behavior. However, their research discovered the best strategy to change a bad mood is a combination of relaxation, stress management, cognitive, and exercise techniques. Hmmm…sounds like our aerial yoga classes.
Lupen and associates (1976) studied the effect of PMR on hyperactive children. Significant improvements were noted in behavior, attention, concentration, and cognition. Frequency of practice was positively linked with improvement. This means the more the children practiced the more they improved.
Kid’s Aerial Yoga and Progressive Muscle Relaxation
At Mindful Child, we incorporate PMR into our ending relaxation story. We do this in our mindfulness therapeutic sessions and in our aerial yoga classes. PMR is introduced in the aerial hammock, which adds an element of fun to the exercises. PMR does not have to be taught in an aerial yoga hammock to reduce stress, all that is needed is a quiet environment and a comfortable position.
Hashim, H. A., & Hanafi Ahmad Yusof, H. (2011). The effects of progressive muscle relaxation and autogenic relaxation on young soccer players’ mood states. Asian journal of sports medicine, 2(2), 99–105. doi:10.5812/asjsm.34786
Lehrer PM. Varieties of relaxation methods and their unique effects. Int J Stress Manage. 1996;3:1–14. [Google Scholar]
Thayer RE, Newman R, McClain TM. Self-regulation of mood: strategies for changing a bad mood, raising energy, and reducing tension. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994;67:910–25. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Lupen, M., Braud, L., Braud, W, & Derer, W. (1976). Children, parents, and relaxation tapes. Academic Therapy, 12, 105-113
Mindful sound meditations improve mindfulness, listening skills, and attention.
It can be difficult to find quiet time in a child’s day. The following exercise will remind you to help children appreciate silencing themselves for a bit to better hear other sounds around them.
What Is Om Gnome?
Om Gnome is a mindful listening meditation. In this exercise, children will pay close attention to the experience of listening. Play ambient music that includes nature sounds. Children sit quietly like an Om Gnome and try to detect all the nature sounds in their enchanted garden. After some practice, children may find Om Gnome useful to help settle their minds before homework or any activity that requires sustained concentration.
What Are The Benefits Of Om Gnome?
Om Gnome builds listening skills, attention, and focus. It promotes mindful awareness and self-awareness.
What to Say.
Sit up tall in Easy Seated Pose. Place your hands on your knees and make the Focus Mudra also known as Gyan Mudra. Close your eyes. Begin to breathe slow calming breaths in and out through your nose. Imagine that you are an Om Gnome sitting in a tranquil spot in your enchanted garden. Listen to the sounds in the garden. If you listen closely and mindfully you will be able to hear all the magical nature sounds. Slowly open your eyes. What did you hear?