De-Stress Technique: Guided Imagery
Why it works: You ask your child to imagine herself in a relaxing situation, talking her through the exercise. Your voice calms her and helps her to focus by giving a script to follow.
How to teach it: Have your child lie in bed with the lights dimmed. Say, “Pretend your bed is made of feathers, and it’s so soft and comfortable that you can’t even move.” Then, starting with the feet, have her imagine that tiny beams of light live inside her toes. “You want to start with the feet to get your child’s attention out of her head and into her body, which means she’ll be less likely to think stressful or distracting thoughts,” says Linda Sparrowe, the author of The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health ($28, amazon.com). Next, describe to her how the light slowly moves up through her ankles, shins, knees, thighs, hips, belly, chest, arms, neck, and head, warming her body as it goes.
Times to try it: When setting the stage for deep sleep; while lying on the table at the doctor’s office waiting for a shot.