The day after Labor Day. For so many children and families, this Tuesday brings a flurry of new beginnings. New clothes and haircut, new routines and friends, new joys and anxieties. As September unfolds, it is important to remember the incredible amount of new information that has to be integrated.
We know, from brain and behavior science, that integration can only fully happen when there is an opportunity for relaxation. As teachers, we must remember to build in moments of silence throughout the day. With all of the transitions and micro-expectations, students need time to quietly reflect and download the material. As parents, we must remember that children will come home feeling mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. Schedule downtime.
Here are our 5 tips for integrating relaxation:
During quiet work or rest time in the classroom, try playing music that is relaxing and energizing, but not dysregulating. The Anjali CD is a great mix of instrumental music (no words) that has a calm feel without being overly sleep inducing. This is also great for the car ride home when you are all out of words!
2. Lavender Oil
3. Guided Relaxation
Guided relaxations are a way to keep students engaged, but also provide a break from learning new routines. Ready, Set, Relax has scripts for you to read focused on various objectives, from following directions to focusing for a test. Another idea is to write your own incorporating new learnings from the school day . Better yet, have your students write them! These stories can also be used at bedtime as a great transition to sleep.
4. Non-Verbal Physical Touch
We know the importance of human connection. Sometimes, when our brain is on overload, connecting physically without having to verbally communicate can offer restorative benefits. Try back drawing as part of your morning meeting in the classroom. At home, simply holding hands with a loved one can have a huge impact.
Twists are wonderful for dealing with anxiety. They open the chest, shoulders and back, which sends a relaxation reflex to the rest of the body. Twists also allow fresh blood to flow in the body, stimulating circulation and producing a refreshing effect. Try using them as during difficult transitions, such as after recess or lunch.
As you embark on new beginnings, remember to carve out time for relaxation and integration. How do you build relaxation into your day? What have you tried with your students or your children? Leave a comment!