A Relax Kids Class incorporates dance, movement, games, simple stretches, peer and self massage, breathing exercises, positive affirmation exercises and guided visualisations and meditations.
Working through each of the 7-steps, I take children from a high energy to a low energy, encouraging them to relax, while letting them be creative and imaginative. Children and parents leave a class feeling calm, confident and positive, with a new set of skills they can use to keep them happy and calm
The 7 steps of a Relax Kids class
The 7-step method is internationally recognised and has even been awarded the NHS Nursing Standards Award. The 7-steps work to take children from a high energy to a low energy, leaving them totally relaxed and refreshed by the end of a session.
Here are the 7-steps explained:
1.) Step one of a Relax Kids class is MOVE. This involves warm up activities and exercises to release children’s natural endorphins.
2.) Step two is PLAY. This section of the class encourages children to have fun and interact with each other. In every class I usually play one fun energetic game and one relaxing game to help start to calm children down.
3.) The next step is STRETCH. Stretches help children feel more flexible and balanced and begins to relax their bodies. It also develops children’s concentration skills and aids physical development. We only use simple stretching exercises and children are encouraged never to stretch beyond their limits.
4.) Step four is FEEL. This section of the class is where the children practice simple massage on themselves and each other. Massages are usually imaginative or game-based, for example, “guess what your partner is drawing on your back”. Massage develops children’s social skills and teaches kindness, empathy, positive touch. It also reduces tendency towards violence and aggression.
5.) Step five of a Relax Kids class is BREATHE. Children practice simple breathing exercises to help them clear their minds and relax, such as breathing like a snake, or colour breathing. These exercises give children tools which they can use in their everyday lives to calm themselves down if they feel anxious, stressed, angry or hyperactive.
6.) Then we move onto the sixth step of a Relax Kids class, BELIEVE. This part of the class teaches children how to use positive affirmations. An affirmation is a positive word or sentence that you repeat to yourself to help you feel better, feel confident and happy. Just as we eat healthy food to help our bodies grow strong and healthy, so we have positive and happy thoughts to help our minds so we can grow up feeling strong and confident inside.
Affirmations help children recognise and believe in their positive qualities, which helps them become more confident, happier people: “So I say, so I believe, so I behave”.
Most of us find affirmations difficult at first. However, as the weeks go on it is beautiful to watch children’s confidence grow as they start to come up with their own affirmations, and actually start to believe them rather than just saying them.
7.) The final step of a Relax Kids class is RELAX. In this section of the class children get into a comfortable position and practice visualisation, or ‘guided meditation’. Children lie quietly and listen to a relaxing meditation story, for example they can imagine they are climbing up Jack’s magic beanstalk, or floating on a soft fluffy cloud.
Visualisation helps develop children’s imagination, as well as letting them relax deeply and let go of muscle tension and anxiety. Visualisation combines several of the other steps of a Relax Kids class, including breathing exercises. Visualisations are also affirmation-based, to leave children feeling totally relaxed, stress-free and confident.