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A Way to Begin

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					                          A Way to Begin
Before you start to read one of these stories, or any other bedtime story, you
might like to do this short, simple stretching and relaxation exercise with your
child. This could become a routine you can share together every night. Most
children really enjoy this kind of quiet, gentle exercise, and it’s a good way to
get them to relax, calm down and burn off any excess energy at the end of a
busy day. By helping your child to relax her body, you help her to relax her mind,
too. This makes it easier for her to empty her mind of thoughts and concentrate
on the story you are about to read.


   1. First ask your child to lie on her bed or on the floor with her head on a
      cushion. Ask her to put her hands on her tummy and imagine there’s a
      balloon inside it. Now say to her:


                           “Close your eyes gently.
               Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose
             and let the balloon inside your tummy slowly fill up.
   Now breathe out as slowly as you can through your nose and let the balloon
    become smaller and smaller until there’s no air left in your tummy at all.”


   2. Ask her to do four more breaths like this and then say:


 “Now squeeze your hands up into a ball, as tight and small as you can. Curl your
 toes as much as you can. Curl up your knees to your head. Close all your body as
           tight as a flower bud, so tight it seems it will never open.”


“Now slowly, slowly one petal at a time, unfold like a flower and stretch. Stretch
open your hands. Spread your fingers. Make your fingers grow, grow, grow. Look
                      your hands are like beautiful petals.”


                   “Now drop your hands they are SO heavy.”


  “Relax your feet, until they are so heavy you can’t lift them. Imagine they’re
warm and toasty. Then imagine this lovely, warm feeling moving up your legs and
slowly filling your whole body – your bottom, your tummy, your hands, your arms,
                          your neck and even your head.”
 “Now relax your mind. Is it ready to listen? To listen to the story you’re about
                             to be told? I think it is!”



From “Nightlights” by David Fontana, PhD and Anne Civardi

				
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