SE­CRETS OF Healthy Kids

Delight Gluten Free - - Healthy Living -

Do yoga to­gether. More schools are turn­ing to this an­cient prac­tice for a mid­day re­lax­ation break, but even if yoga isn’t part of your child’s cur­ricu­lum, you can teach a few poses at home. War­rior I, for in­stance, with legs stretched wide and arms raised, calls us to at­ten­tion and de­mands both phys­i­cal and men­tal strength, while the up­ward lift of the arms and head sym­bol­ize vic­tory, says Jim Gillen, coau­thor of Yoga Calm for Chil­dren: Ed­u­cat­ing Heart, Mind, and Body (Three Peb­ble Press, 2008). That makes it a great con­fi­dence booster to do just be­fore a big test.

Help chil­dren find their happy place. Vi­su­al­iza­tion can help kids tap into their imag­i­na­tion and re­store calm, says Jed Sch­lack­man, LMHC, a holis­tic psy­chother­a­pist in Mi­ami. Ask your child to close his eyes and pic­ture him­self in a place where every­thing is peace­ful, he says. His body will re­act as if he’s ac­tu­ally in that peace­ful place. To help your child con­jure up a fa­vorite, calm­ing spot whether it’s the for­est you hiked through last sum­mer or his fa­vorite room in the house ask ques­tions that evoke all five senses, such as, what can you see? What do you hear? How does the sun feel on your skin? The more sen­sory de­tails he fills in, the more his body will be con­vinced that it’s time to chill. Just breathe. Our breath­ing be­comes quick and shal­low when we’re anx­ious. But if we force our­selves to take slow, deep hits of oxy­gen, it’s like send­ing the body an all-clear sig­nal, which elic­its a re­lax­ation re­sponse. To make it eas­ier for chil­dren to breathe deeply, Lynea hands them a Hober­man sphere—a plas­tic ball com­posed of fold­ing joints—and teaches them to open it while in­hal­ing and close it while ex­hal­ing. The vis­ual el­e­ment helps them breathe slowly. (Buy a Hober­man sphere at Yo­ga­calm.com; $17.) An­other trick: teach your grade-schooler to pre­tend she’s slowly blow­ing out can­dles on a birth­day cake.

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