Happy New Year! We all know what ringing in the new year means, new goals and shiny aspirations! We all hope that with the shift into a new year, we will be able to do things we haven’t done before, reach new heights, and achieve our dreams. With all of our heads in the clouds, we also have to remember that 2020 was a difficult year for everyone and that even though 2021 is a new year, we should cut ourselves some slack and give ourselves more time to work toward our goals along with time to destress. We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves, and we don’t want our kids to do this either. For them the new year means a new semester and new topics at school, and they can feel just as much stress from this shift as we adults can! Here are four ways that you and your child can destress and center yourselves with movement for a more successful and calm transition to the new year:

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing – This activity can be helpful for anyone, of any age! Just lie on the ground or sit in a chair. Place one hand on your belly and make sure you are “belly breathing”, aka, make sure you can feel your tummy moving up and down every time you breathe. This way you know you are doing it correctly. You can stack your breathing by counting up to five, then down to five. Repeat the counting process about ten times to allow the body time to relax, the heart rate to slow down, and the nervous system to slow down with it!
  1. Heavy work activities – this one gives the body a sense of where it is, which works especially well for the kids who seem to physically be in one million places at once, touching everything, bouncing and jumping around, and having difficulty focusing on one task at a time. Heavy work activities can be done by pushing or pulling a loaded wheel barrow, carrying a full laundry basket, or helping stack heavy cans onto low shelves. (PS this is also a great way to get your child to help out with chores as well – its a win win!)
  1. Make the “Bubble” – This game uses similar principles as heavy work, and turns it into something fun and interactive you and your child can do together! First, have your child hold their hands in front of them with their palms facing each other. Then you put your hands on the outside of their hands with your palms touching the backs of their hands. Tell them to push out into your hands as hard as they can, and meet the resistance they are giving you (aka give them as much force as they are giving you). Count to 60 together while pushing with force, then slowly release their hands. Tell them to now slowly move their hands apart and together, but don’t change their hand position or let them touch their hands to each other. While they move their hands in and out slowly, it will feel like they are making a large bubble bigger and smaller right between their hands! When they’re ready to be finished with the bubble, tell them to POP it by clapping their hands together!
  1. Slow Rocking on an exercise ball – this activity uses the vestibular system (the little system of tubes and fluid in your ears that helps with balance, sensing the body in space, and understanding movement of the body through space). Lie on an exercise ball with the belly downward. The hands will touch the ground with every forward movement. Make sure the rocking is SLOW, if the rocking is too quick, it may have the opposite effect!

If you tried any of these strategies or if you would like more tips on how to stay calm and focused in the new year, email us at info@kidpt.com or message us on instagram @kidpt or facebook @kidptnj.

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