Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This is a technique that is used to relax one’s muscles. When we are angry or anxious, our muscles often tighten up, and it can be difficult to relax them on demand. In addition to reducing muscle pains and headaches, relaxing one’s body can cause one’s brain to be more relaxed too (i.e., less anxious, fewer worries, less agitated). In Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) a child (or adult) squeezes different muscle groups (e.g., feet and calves, stomach and buttocks, chest and shoulders, etc.) for five to ten seconds and then relaxes them, often starting with feet muscles and moving up to face muscles. Here’s a YouTube video by GoZen that walks a child through this skill. PMR can be particularly helpful in facilitating relaxation before bedtime, but it works at any time of day!
Age range: Ideal for 1st graders through 5th graders.
Recommended for: Children struggling with too many worries who want to worry less will likely benefit from going through this interactive workbook with a trusted adult and practicing the recommended skills. It’s a collection of evidence-based practices for worry management, and for some kids, this workbook might be enough to help them learn to get their worries under control! For kids who need a little more support, this workbook could still be a great supplement to therapy. Also available in Spanish.
Age range: Kindergarten through 5th grade.
Recommended for: I highly recommend this workbook for parents and children to work through together over many weeks or even months. It’s ideal for a child who would like to feel less anxious and who is ready to learn some strategies for getting their anxiety more under control. This workbook is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and is a comprehensive collection of evidence-based practices for childhood anxiety. Therapists may also be interested in using this book in session with clients as a way of structuring their treatment or as between-session “homework” for children and their caregivers as a means of reinforcing in-session content.