Teaching self-control techniques to children is one of the best gifts we can give them. In fact, self-control is one of the most important life skills as it not only helps them better regulate and manage their emotions, but it can become a predictor of success in adulthood. This was demonstrated by a study carried out at Stanford University in which it was found that children who develop self-control from an early age become more independent people, capable of facing difficulties and dealing better with failures.
Fortunately, there are different self-control techniques for children with which we can teach them to control their impulses, manage their emotions and develop mindfulness from an early age. Such is the case with the frog technique.
What is the frog technique?
The technique, developed by Eline Snel in her book “ Calm and attentive as a frog. Meditation for children… with their parents ”, is nothing more than a simple meditation method specially designed for the little ones at home. Its goal is to teach children to become aware of their body and emotions so that they are able to express what they feel assertively, while teaching them to be fully present in the here and now.
The technique also aims for children to practice deep breathing, relax their body and mind and be able to focus their attention. Basically, the technique consists of imitating a frog, an animal that is capable of great jumps, but also of staying still for long periods of time, simply observing what is happening around it.
It is worth noting that the frog technique is designed for children over 5 years of age and that it should be structured in sessions of between 3 and 10 minutes, although if they are very young it is preferable not to exceed 5 minutes to prevent them from losing concentration and becoming frustrated. . Ideally , the technique would be applied daily, but once children have mastered it, they can use it at any time, either to relax or to focus on the present moment.
What benefits does the frog technique bring to children?
The frog technique is an excellent exercise to help children relax the stresses of the day, while helping them feel more serene and calm about themselves. It is also used to release excess energy, which is why it comes in handy for hyperactive children . And as it helps to regulate the emotional response, it is a good resource for children who have problems with aggression.
However, these are not its only benefits. The frog technique is also an excellent tool for:
- Develop children’s attention and concentration.
- Express emotions more openly and assertively.
- Improve memory, abstract thinking and learning.
- Reduce impulsive responses by promoting more reflective behavior.
- Help children fall asleep and enjoy a restful sleep.
- Promote healthier and developing social relationships.
- Improve children’s communication ability.
The frog technique in 5 steps
1. Explain to the children what the technique consists of
A fundamental step in applying the frog technique is to explain to children what this exercise consists of and the benefits it will bring them. It is important that the little ones do not feel forced to apply the technique since they will perceive it as a punishment and, instead of learning to relax, they will probably end up getting frustrated. You can tell them, for example: “Now we are going to play that you are a frog and you have to manage to stay still like they do. I will guide you and at the end, you will notice that you will feel more relaxed and calm. Do you want to try?”
2. Ask them to imitate the frog’s posture
To start, ask the children to imitate the posture of a frog. To do this, they should preferably sit on the floor with a straight back, arms on both sides of the body and legs crossed in front of the body. In this way they will be adopting a comfortable posture, which will allow them to concentrate more easily on the exercise, while improving their breathing capacity. To add a dose of entertainment to the exercise, you can ask the children to imagine that they are in a beautiful lake and describe the vegetation and some details of the environment to make it easier for them to recreate the place.
3. Invite them to be aware of their own body
Once the children have settled in, ask them to stay in that position like a frog would. Encourage them to observe what is happening around them and to become aware of the sensations they perceive. Do you feel the air on your skin? Do they hear your voice? Are you aware of your breathing? Can you feel the ground under your feet? The idea is that the little ones focus their attention on the present moment and are able to abstract themselves from all the interruptions in the environment.
4. Encourage them to breathe like a frog
When you notice that the children begin to concentrate, ask them to breathe as if they were a frog. Invite them to take a slow breath in through their nose as they inflate their belly and gently release it through their mouth as it deflates. To help them focus on their breathing, ask them to put their hands on their abdomen so they can feel the movements of their belly as it inflates and deflates. This simple gesture will make them be more aware of their own breathing.
5. Make them aware of their emotions
At this point, when the children begin to relax, focus your attention on their emotions. Ask them to reflect on what they are feeling at that moment, are they positive or negative emotions? If it’s negative feelings, invite them to let them go while still focusing solely on their breathing and the movement of their belly.
A playful alternative to the frog technique is to ask children to squat down and jump like a frog instead of sitting quietly. After a few jumps, you can ask them to stop, take a deep breath and focus on their sensations.
You can also combine the technique with other useful exercises such as the “a safe place” method that children can imaginarily move to at any time. They can use the method when they feel frustrated, sad or simply when they want to relax or fall asleep.