Transitions, such as the return to care or school after the holidays, often highlight the stress children face amidst their daily routines—an issue Birdie’s Tree, a curated collection of storybooks, videos, and resources from the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (QCPIMH), aims to tackle.
“Relaxing with Birdie,” authored by Susie Hamill, Alex De Young, and Andrea Baldwin, presents actionable strategies to assist children in stress management. Guided by Birdie and Mr. Frog, kids discover various relaxation techniques—simple movements, calming thoughts, and breathing exercises. The book features muscle-relaxing movements, mind-body calming breathing exercises, and engaging stories promoting peaceful sleep. Offering daily mindfulness activities, it serves as a crucial support system during challenging moments.
Consider the stress a child might feel transitioning back to school: the anxiety of meeting new peers or teachers, adjusting from a relaxed holiday routine to the structure of school days, and academic concerns. “Relaxing with Birdie” becomes a reliable resource, offering adaptability and comfort during emotional intensity or transitions. It encourages creating a comforting space with pillows, blankets, and toys to amplify its benefits. Including activities like the “Spaghetti Muscles” exercise, stimulating imagination and body awareness for active relaxation, it becomes a valuable tool for emotional resilience.
Lie down with your arms and legs comfortably stretched out. Close your eyes. Take a deep slow breath into your belly and breathe it out gently. Let’s be uncooked spaghetti, hard and stiff. Make your whole body straight and hard like a stick of uncooked spaghetti.
Tighten up your face. Squeeze your eyes shut. Scrunch up your nose. Clench your jaw and press your lips shut. Bring your shoulders up to your ears. Tense your arms. Clench your fists into two tight balls. Make your belly go tight and hard tense your legs. Press your knees together and scrunch up your toes.
Take a moment to notice how your body feels.
Are you holding your breath or taking little short breaths?
What happens when we cook our spaghetti?
Now relax your whole body like a soft string of cooked spaghetti. Relax your face. Unclench your jaw. Let your tongue relax and your mouth fall open softly. Relax your arms and shoulders. Relax your hands. Let your belly go soft. Let go all the tension from your legs. Your knees and feet fall gently apart and your toes uncurl. Let your whole body relax and sink into the surface you’re lying on.
Take a moment to notice how your body feels. Feel your belly rise and fall as you take nice slow breaths in and out.
At Only About Children, our unique health approach encompasses physical activity, nutrition, safe sleep, and allied health services. Delivered by our dedicated in-house team of Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, and Vision Specialists, our comprehensive support includes tailored consultations and engaging workshops—all encompassed in your daily fee. Recognising the significance of resources like “Relaxing with Birdie,” aligning with our commitment to nurturing children’s emotional and mental health, we aim to cultivate an enriching environment for children’s growth, particularly during challenging transitions such as returning to school after the holidays, providing parents with invaluable support in these crucial moments.
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Learn more about Birdie’s Tree here.