After writing about Relax Kids last week, I decided to put one of their relaxation cds to the test.
My eldest daughter Tara, aged 10, sometimes suffers from low self-esteem so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try to help her overcome this issue and have fun doing so in the process.
Since it's known that children with low self-esteem can often end up suffering from feelings of low self-worth, depression and even being bullied at school or by other children outside school, it's worth addressing the problem as early as possible in a child's development.
Tara, like many children her age, is something of a perfectionist and as a result, often gets herself into a state over small things such as not being able to get the details quite right in a sketch, or forgetting how to work out a maths question. At these times she can get so worked up that the tears flow and she races off to her room, leaving everyone behind wondering why on earth she is getting herself upset about something apparently trivial to the rest of us.
The Relax Kids Self Esteem CD arrived in the middle of last week and I was very keen to get started. Somewhat typically at the moment, Tara, on the other hand, wasn't!
Regardless, I decided we'd get started in her room and having read through the wonderful booklet of exercises included with the cd, I believed that she'd love it once we got going. However, when her siblings also expressed an interest in joining in, Tara was not happy. Oh dear, she was not going to make this easy for any of us...
We started off by doing some stretching and breathing exercises as suggested in the booklet but then, having seated ourselves in a circle on the floor, Tara refused to join in, instead preferring to sit on her bed. I let it go thinking perhaps she just needed her own space. When the first track began the two younger children immediately did as required for the session, closing their eyes, taking deep breaths and using their imaginations.
Sadly, I had to stop the cd several times because Tara's behaviour got increasingly unbearable. By now she was lying on her bed, thumping her feet up and down and distracting the other two! Grrr.
Almost on the point of abandoning the session, I decided to give her a stern talking to, explaining the point of our session and how it would help her if she wanted to be helped. I explained it was a lovely way for us all to spend time with one another and would help her to deal with her feelings as she grows. Knowing she is ten years old and entering puberty, I am always aware that her behaviour is very much controlled by raging hormones at the moment so I have to take this into account when she is being problematic.
Thankfully, she agreed we could give it another try and that she'd stop distracting Sarah and Jack...
Rather than playing the same track again, we moved onto track number two, Crystal Ball. Well, what a difference - all three children settled into the session quickly and thoroughly enjoyed imagining they were looking into a crystal ball and seeing themselves in various pleasant and playful situations.
Each session only lasts around 5 minutes, after which time it's nice to discuss with the children what they got from the session.
I was astounded by just how much all three of my children enjoyed the track and we must have sat for an hour discussing their crystal ball exercise and talking about feelings. We had great fun, laughed a lot and everyone got on incredibly well together. Tara was particularly excited by the exercise and the time we spent chatting about the experience was simply wonderful. She got very animated and her mood was transformed from the first attempt!
Over the intervening days we've since listen to several more tracks and I have to admit to being astounded by just how well the cds are working for us. Several tracks are affirmation tracks and these have been particular beneficial for Tara as she now understands that by thinking positively about things she's having problems with, she will begin to believe in herself and her abilities. Rather that telling herself she can't do something, she now understands that she should tell herself that she can do whatever it is that she is fretting about and that eventually she will believe that she can.
Tara (and the others) have actually enjoyed the cd so much that I often hear them playing it for themselves - which is quite a result! Tara has even taken to switching it on at bedtime which has lead to her falling asleep much more quickly and waking up in a much better frame of mind next morning.
The cd has also had another unexpected result for me in that I've enjoyed working with it so much that I can now see endless opportunities for its use.
As a teacher in the days before I had my own children, I know just how useful the Relax Kids range of cds would be in a classroom setting, particularly in English and Drama settings. They certainly promote creative thinking and I can only begin to imagine how a child's creative writing would be enhanced by listening to a track as part of a lesson. In Drama, the use of the cds would help inspire children to act out various situations and in art, I think both children and teachers would be intrigued by the resulting pictures children would draw.
Relax Kids cds could be employed virtually anywhere that children are: hospitals, youth clubs, arts centres... the list is endless.
For now, we're going to keep working with our self-esteem cd but there are many other cds also available in the range, including Anger Management, Anxiety and Worry, Concentration, Health and Happiness, Sleeping Problems and Stress Management.
Relax Kids also offer a variety of books, motivational cards and teaching aids to complement the cds and these are suitable for younger as well as older children. Check out RelaxKids.com to read about and purchase their products.