9 Relaxation techniques for toddlers to promote calm and wellbeing

Toddlers lead busy, active lives. They often face their fair share of stress and overstimulation on a daily basis. Just cutting their fruit wrong can completely ruin their day, for example!

Just like using relaxation techniques for us as parents, introducing some fun and simple relaxation techniques for toddlers can be a wonderful way to help them slow down, unwind, manage their emotions, and promote a sense of calm.

Relaxation Techniques for Toddlers and Why they are beneficial

Before we move onto the techniques themselves, let’s look at the reasons why its highly beneficial for toddlers to learn how to relax:

  • Emotional regulation: Toddlers often experience intense emotions but may struggle with managing them effectively. Relaxation techniques teach them how to calm themselves down when they feel overwhelmed or upset. By learning to regulate their emotions, toddlers can develop healthier coping mechanisms and reduce tantrums or meltdowns.
  • Stress management: Even young children can experience stress due to various factors such as changes in routines, new environments, or social interactions. Relaxation techniques provide toddlers with tools to cope with stress. These techniques help them relax their bodies and minds, promoting a sense of calm and reducing anxiety.
  • Sleep improvement: Establishing a bedtime routine that includes relaxation techniques can greatly aid in improving a toddler’s sleep quality. Techniques like deep breathing, gentle massages, or quiet reading can help them wind down, release tension, and promote a restful sleep.
  • Focus and concentration: Toddlers often struggle with maintaining focus and attention, especially in stimulating environments. Relaxation techniques, such as guided imagery or yoga, help toddlers develop mindfulness and improve their ability to concentrate. These techniques teach them to be present in the moment, enhancing their focus and attention span.
  • Body awareness: Relaxation techniques encourage toddlers to tune into their bodies and become aware of physical sensations. By paying attention to their breath, muscle tension, or physical relaxation, they develop a better understanding of their bodies and become more attuned to their needs.
  • Overall wellbeing: It allows them to experience moments of peace, tranquillity, and inner calm. Regular relaxation practice can contribute to their mental, emotional, and physical health, fostering a positive outlook and a greater sense of happiness.

9 Relaxation techniques for toddlers to promote calm and wellbeing

1. Deep breathing

Teach your toddler simple deep breathing exercises. Encourage them to take slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. You can make it fun by pretending to blow out imaginary candles or blowing bubbles.

2. Progressive muscle relaxation

Guide your toddler through a relaxation exercise where they tense and then release each muscle group. Start with the toes and work up to the head, encouraging them to squeeze and then relax each body part.

3. Visualisation

Encourage your toddler to use their imagination to create calming images in their mind. You can guide them through a peaceful scenario like imagining they are floating on a cloud or playing in a calm ocean.

4. Guided imagery

Use audio recordings or books that provide guided imagery or meditations specifically designed for young children. These recordings often tell a relaxing story that engages their imagination and promotes relaxation. Try Meditation for kids from Kinderling or Headspace.

5. Massage

Gently massaging your toddler can help them relax. Use soft, slow strokes and focus on their arms, legs, back, or head. You can also use calming essential oils, but make sure to use child-safe ones and dilute them properly.

6. Calming music

Play soothing music or lullabies for your toddler. Gentle, instrumental music or nature sounds can help create a calming atmosphere and promote relaxation.

7. Yoga or stretching

Introduce simple yoga poses or stretching exercises suitable for toddlers. Make it playful and enjoyable, using animal-themed poses or imitating movements of their favourite characters. Cosmic Kids is a great place to start for yoga and mindfulness videos.

8. Quiet reading or storytelling

Encourage your toddler to engage in quiet activities like reading books or storytelling. Choose calm and soothing stories that have a positive message and help them wind down.

9. Sensory play

Provide sensory experiences that can be relaxing for your toddler. This can include activities like playing with soft fabrics, using a sensory bin with sand or rice, or having a warm bath with calming scents.