Hectic Summers

Growing YearsSummer can be hectic for children. Schedules are often abandoned in favor of summer fun, which can have a negative effect on their behavior. These activities are easy ways to calm them, while simultaneously providing a unique learning experience.

Fingertip Letter Writing Exercise:

While calmly and quietly relaxing with eyes closed, this activity develops focusing skills and helps to better identify letters, numbers, math equations, and spelling.

– Find a warm flat surface suitable for your child to comfortably lie down on their belly and close their eyes.

– Have child take a few deep breaths before lying down on his/her belly.

– Smooth the shirt so it lays flat against his/her back in order to feel the subtle movements of your fingertip.

– Slowly write letters or numbers vertically, one at a time, in big strokes across the back.

– Ask your child to quietly identify each letter or number.

– You can then, spell words one letter at a time, and write math equations by adding math symbols and equal sign,

Calming Breathing Exercise:

An exercise for slowing down and tuning into one’s own body that offers opportunities to improve science skills through body awareness. The technique is called belly breathing or Diaphragmatic breathing. Diaphragmatic or belly breathing is natural only to mammals. It’s a state of deep breathing controlled by a large muscle in the abdomen called the diaphragm. Air enters through the nose, and travels into the lungs. If the breath is shallow, only the chest cavity expands. But when you breathe in deeply, the diaphragm contracts and the belly and chest cavity expand. Belly breathing and the “fight or flight” response to stress or anxiety (two feelings we all experience) cannot occur at the same time. The “fight or flight” mode triggers shallow breathing, getting the person ready for battle. On the other hand, belly breathing reduces our heart rate and triggers a relaxation response, to slow the body down, or calm us from stress.

– Tell your child to breathe normally.

– Ask what parts of their body moves as they breathe, and how it makes them feel.

– Now tell them to lie on their backs and place their hands on their bellies.

– Have them breathe, with mouths closed, for four seconds or until they feel their chest and belly fill with air.

– They should hold in the air for four seconds.

– Then slowly blow all the air out. If your child has trouble breathing slowly, use a straw to exhale through.

– Repeat until the body feels relaxed.

– Practice when in a relaxed state, in order to master what it feels like to be relaxed.

– If done at bedtime, it can help kids fall asleep.