Helping your child relax: Visualisation

Teaching your child ways to relax can help them fall asleep at night. This handout discusses a method known as Visualisation. Other methods include the Worry Box, Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Deep Breathing.

Children who are ‘worriers’ often have a vivid imagination. By using their imagination to create a happy place when they are in bed may distract them from their worries, help them relax and fall asleep. Visualisation can help children relax by helping them to think about places or activities that make them feel happy and safe.

Teaching your child deep breathing

Choose a book with pictures of a place your child can imagine (try to avoid dark or scary pictures). Talk about the picture and ask your child if she can see it in her mind. They can use their imagination to change the picture or add to it.

Your child may start to use this exercise in bed before they go to sleep. You can try gently reminding them they could try using it at bedtime, but don’t tell them they have to do this otherwise they can end up getting worried if it doesn’t work!

With any relaxation technique, it is best to be taught when not stressed.

Trying to teach a relaxation strategy when a child is very stressed can make their stress worse. Teach and practice relaxation techniques when you can both be calm and quiet together.

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