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Relaxation, Guided Imagery, and Visualization Techniques

Yoga and Slow Movement Exercises

Various yoga postures and slow movement games and exercises are fun and helpful for teaching children to relax, use controlled movements, and increase their creative imagination and imagery skills. Some movements and postures shared in Centerplay include: scaling through space; climbing a pyramid; carrying a fragile gift to someone; being a scarecrow, ragdoll, and popped balloon.

Visualization and Guided Imagery

The ability to visualize with colorful, vivid images, rich imagination and detailed action are natural skills of childhood. These same skills have been found to be very useful in empowering people to overcome obstacles in their lives, improve memory, enhance learning, and to be healing -- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Imagery is helpful in developing focus and concentration; calming; coping with stress/anxiety; and increasing positive study skills, social skills, and creative expression.

  • There are specialists who train individuals in these techniques, and who use visualization/guided imagery as part of their therapy in treatment of different health, social, behavioral, and emotional problems.

  • There are also books and resources that teach how to use these techniques for self-help and management. One of these resources is Imagery for Kids: Discovering Your Special Place, an audiotape combining gentle music and a guided journey, developed and presented by Dr. Charlotte Reznick, educational psychologist.

  • Teach your child to visualize herself in situations where she is achieving and being successful. Once she's had practice with guided visualization, encourage her to use the techniques of deep breathing and visualizing herself doing what she wants to do.

    For example, prior to taking a test, she can visualize herself in detail working diligently taking the test. Encourage her to see herself being persistent and reading each item carefully, being relaxed and not getting nervous or excited, and being confident with her answers. Have her picture herself finishing the test, then going back and checking for careless errors. In addition, playing the theme song from the movie Rocky or another motivational song can help build confidence.

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