Smart Woman: Coping at a Young Age

Thursday, September 9th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Project E.A.S.E.: Teachers Rita Eddy and Holly Caulfield started Project E.A.S.E. (Effective Anti-Stress Education). Their goal is to teach young children how to deal with stress. Eddy has been using the relaxation techniques with her pre-kindergarten students for 19 years. She says it's never to early to start because sooner the child knows how to take a deep breath and relax, the better off they will be in life.

Breathing Activities: Deep breathing is a key element in the relaxation process. But the key is to think of fun ways to teach young kids how to breathe. Some examples include:

Deep Breathing Straws: By using a straw, the child can see how breathing feels. Have the child hold the straw in their mouth, with their hand on the other end. When they breathe in through their noses and out through their mouths, they will feel their breath on their hand.

Beach Ball Breaths: Hold up a deflated beach ball and have the child help you blow it up. This will teach them to breathe in and out a number of times in a row.

Magic Balloons: Have the child pretend they have a magic balloon. Then each child can breathe in through their nose and out their mouth until they think their balloon is filled up.

Bubbles: Use bubbles to teach children how to blow through the wand.

Hand Lotion:Give each child a dot of hand lotion and have them rub it in. After it's rubbed in, have them smell it by breathing in through their noses.

Pinwheels: Have the child blow on a pinwheel and watch it move as they take a deep breath.

Muscle Relaxation Activities: Another important part of teaching young children how to relax is to show them the difference between tense and loose muscles. Eddy uses "the newspaper crunch" to teach children this concept. She provides each child with a piece of newspaper. With one hand behind their back, the child uses the other hand to crunch the paper into a small ball. This shows them how a tense muscle feels. Then have the child shake out the paper. This shows them how a loose muscle feels.

For more information, contact:
Rita Eddy
1283 Culver Road
Orlando, Florida 32825
(407) 897-6430 ext. 410 or (407) 658-7799