Building Relaxation Into Baby’s Day
Stress is a natural and unavoidable part of life. Babies, like adults, experience stress, from leaving the comfort of the womb, to frustration with their developing bodies and separation anxiety. Learning to manage stress positively at a young age is a foundation for positive mental health in later life.
Many people think that relaxation is something we just ‘do’. However it is better thought of as a skill, and like any skill, it needs to be taught and practiced. Managing stress and learning to relax is one of the most important things you can teach your child, giving them the tools to cope with inevitable difficulties life can bring. Relaxation skills can be taught at a young age and the good news is that it’s easy to fit some relaxation into your baby’s daily routine. Here are some simple, relaxing activities that babies will love.
Flames tend to both captivate and soothe children. Light a candle and put on some relaxing music, then sit with your baby quietly and watch the flame together. At first, your baby may only focus on the candle for a few seconds. This is fine. Slowly work up to a few minutes at a time. This is a great way to teach the foundations for later relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and mindfulness. Babies enjoy candle time at any point in the day, but it can often be helpful for toddlers and older children after active play, to help them calm down and refocus.
Babies really benefit from a ‘relaxation corner’ in their room, ideally visited before naps to help calm them before sleep. The focal point of a relaxation corner is a light feature. Bubble tubes are ideal, but a simple lava lamp will also be effective. Focus on making your relaxation corner as multi-sensory as possible. Include anything that calms your baby such as a basket of story books, soft fabrics and a diffuser that will disperse the smell of organic essential oils, such as lavender or chamomile. Remember to add some soft mats or blankets to chill out on. A familiar and welcoming relaxation corner can be really beneficial when your baby becomes a toddler and needs a calm place to visit before, during, or after a tantrum.
Give your baby some time in nature as frequently as you can. Go to the park, a field, woodlands or sit in the garden and let them crawl around. Resist the temptation to give them toys and let them feel grass, play with leaves and look at the sky. Try not to lead or guide their play. Instead sit quietly with your baby and just be there while they explore their environment.
The benefits of massage for babies are well documented and can include improved sleep, bonding and reduced periods of crying. Infant massage classes are a great way to learn but there are also some high quality videos on YouTube for those who want to get started right away. Baby massage is easy to fit into your daily routine and works particularly well after a warm bath.
If you’re in the market for an all-natural Baby Oil, perfect for massage as well as hydrating your baby’s delicate skin, we adore this Angel Baby Oil from Earth Mama Angel Baby. It is 100% toxin free, has no artificial preservatives or fragrances, and is infused with calming organic chamomile and moisturizing organic calendula blossoms.
Family Cuddle Time
Skin to skin contact produces a hormone called Oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’, which aids relaxation and bonding. This hormone is produced in men and women as well as babies, helping the whole family feel closer. Taking time to lie on a bed or the couch and quietly talk, stroke and cuddle your baby together for just a few minutes a day can help you to reconnect and develop as a family. This can be after a bath, early in the morning or whenever it works for your family.
Quiet play is a great way of relaxing baby before bedtime. Many parents recognize the value of a night time routine, but extending it a little further and incorporating some relaxing play can help your baby look forward to bedtime and sleep for longer. Begin by dimming lights, turning off any screens and keeping talking to a minimum. Some popular ideas are playing with lights such as fairy lights and small torches, bubbles, making shadow puppet shapes on the wall and slowly singing a favorite nursery rhyme or lullaby.
All the above techniques can be easily implemented into your baby’s routine. They also give tired parents chance to sit back and enjoy some chill out time with their baby throughout the day. Do you have a favorite relaxing method that you use with your baby? Tell us about it in the comment section!
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Photo credits: The Therapy Adventure, Jennifer Mulherin.
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