Covid 19 Response

Home Learning

During the Covid 19 Pandemic which from March 20 2020 has seen schools closed, and a nationwide lock-down, Ruth, our Practitioner, compiled a small manual for parents. This manual is a step by step guide to working quietly with a child through Therapeutic Touch, Breathing and Voice. It is particularly intended for parents or carers working with children with PMLD, though it could be used for any child. We are hoping it may create some easy steps to relaxing and engaging a child which may also be beneficial and relaxing to a parent-carer as well. In these strange times of great stress and uncertainty, something that pauses that cycle of worry may be useful. This Pandemic has brought home to everyone the central role of parents and families at all times and especially now. We hope that when we are back working in schools either by the Autumn of 2020 or Spring of 2021, that we will take this Home Learning Pack further and offer practical sessions at school as well for parents who may be interested to learn more. So this in a way is a new beginning.



Hand and Sky Project

Touch and Breathing together with your Child

To settle and calm both child and yourself

and to create interest and happiness

1. Your child will be lying on a mat or bed in their everyday clothes. All braces are removed.

2. Sit beside your child. Breathe in and breath out easily and naturally into your belly. Notice areas of tension and tightness in your body, for instance your chest, your head or your shoulders. Notice your belly and lower back. Feel warmth here. Notice the soles of your feet and your hands and fingers.

3. Bring your hands together and feel warmth building between the palms of your hands.

4. Take in your child fully; their face, chest, belly, arms and legs. Scan through their body with your eyes as if touching them lightly. Return to their face and rest here and as you do so, bring your hands lightly down onto their belly. Now bring your attention to your own hands in contact with your child in this one place.

5. Let your two hands with palms down, rest one on top of the other and tune in as if listening through touch, to the rise and fall of your child’s belly which is how you feel them breathing. Let your hands ride on the up and down movement as the child breathes. Notice how their tummy feels; is it tight and full or soft? Simply notice but don’t try to change anything.

6. As you begin to feel the rhythm of their breathing through their tummy, let your hands soften and sink further into warming contact as they breath out and to rise up, giving space as they breathe in. If their breath is stuck and you cannot find a pattern yet, model for them easy relaxed and full breathing, in and out. Feel the affects this has on you.

7. Now move one hand to their upper chest whilst keeping one still on their belly. The quiet warming hand on their belly is called “Mother Hand” and the other hand on their chest now takes on a slightly different role and is called “Child Hand”. With the finger-pads of the “Child Hand” you can now create small circular motions- at one point of interest for a while and then moving a fraction to another point of interest. Feel out areas of tightness with a slight knotty quality and begin to ease these areas gently and precisely, like a bee going into a flower for pollen and then coming out again. Go slowly and stay at one point for some time before moving to another area. All the time check with your child’s face how they are responding and with their breathing, that can be felt through the “Mother Hand” on their tummy. Is their tummy softening and relaxing?

8.Now return to a quiet light touch where both hands are calm and even, with a light spreading, warming touch through open palms and outwards through your fingers. It’s like the rays of the morning sun gradually warming even beyond where your fingers end. Much is also about your intention and the feeling of greeting your child quietly with all your attention.

9. Notice your posture. Are you relaxed? Can you feel your own support through your backbone from your neck into your sit-bones and with a warming feeling in your own belly and lower back? What are you noticing in the wider space? Can you let sounds, smells, light and movement in the room come and go without breaking your connection with the child? Let all your sensations inside and all your perceptions outside come into a soft and unhurried attention without them needing to distract you from this quiet breathing practice with your child but rather supporting you in it.

10. With the warming “Mother Hand” and the more active and detailed “Child Hand” you can begin to balance and follow your child’s interests through their breathing, their facial expressions and their sound-making. To calm and settle them you can concentrate on the still warming “Mother Hand” touch and to create playful interest and release of muscular tension, you can create these specific areas of interest with your finger pads. Your child will show you which areas need touching with the “Child Hand” quality of touch by moving their head, breathing more freely, yawning and sometimes smiling or creating sounds when you reach an area which feels good to them. You may work in this way with their neck, their face, their arms and hands.

11. More warming still contact with “Mother Hand” approach can be given around their knees- wrapping your hands around them, or their feet, cradling and holding them. Find your own position of ease within this. You can move position from their side to work at their feet and still engage with their whole body and with their face. Open your chest and let the warming contact flow out through your belly, up into your lungs, down your arms and into your hands and fingers so they are soft, warm and responsive. You are reaching from your own position of ease through your child and further out into the world. It is something like an unfolding, as we see in leaves and flowers in Spring. Your child will feel this and understand this deeply in connection and relationship to your touch and your breathing.

12. You may want to use sounds as an extension of this breathing pattern of gradual expansion.You can use long low tones with open vowel sounds- A- O -U-E -I. This creates a sense of Well-Being as the sound-tones come in one after the other and begin to harmonize and ring together. You may imagine a journey with your child crossing a sea on a boat carried gently and effortlessly by the wind and then returning home again. This story describes the in-out of the breath. Or there may be other stories or songs you can imagine or that are familiar to you and your child. Your child may begin to listen to the relaxed sounds you are making and this may help their breathing. They feel that you are relaxed and so they relax too. They may vocalize or not. However it is not necessary to include a story and you simply do what opens out interest and relaxes them.

13. Your touch may now become more of a sweeping touch- a light steady brushing beginning at the sides under their arms- first one side then the other down their ribs, hips, legs, knees, ankles and feet. Another motion upwards and out from their belly into their chest and then down their arms and out into each finger can also be nice and intriguing for them. You can do this as one movement with both hands starting together at their belly and then branching out at their chest as your two hands separate out and travel down each arm at the same time. Whilst you are doing this you can have an image of a tree to help you think about it; their belly is where the roots are deep in the ground, then up into the trunk of the tree which is their torso and their chest and then outwards into the branches of the tree which are their arms and on into the finer branches which are their fingers. Again this can be an inner image for yourself or something shared with the child if they respond to such imagery in words. Whether you use words or not it is the same and the benefits are the same as this pattern is about growth and regeneration through breathing with the whole body and the release of this breath into a wider space. This will support both you and your child within a wider system of life. You will also be adding to this positive pattern through this practice.

14. To end the session go back to quiet even touch first with your hands separated palm down, one lightly placed on the child’s belly and the other on their chest. Take notice of your position and comfort and find a sense of quietness- through your own body- in your lower back and belly. You may tilt and adjust back and forward a little as you find the most comfortable end position, with your arms out towards the child loose and relaxed and your hands soft and receptive. Your chest is open, taking support from your lower back and belly which you experience as warm and settled. Your face is clear, perceiving and scanning through all your senses- seeing, hearing, smelling and touching. With all your senses you notice your child’s body and their whole presence and the wider space in which you sit in connection with them.

15. Now put both hands one one top of the other and rest them gently on the child’s belly. This was the position you began with and it is the position you end with. Tune into the rise and fall of their breath through the movement here. How soft is their belly? Is it different from before? And their face? Is it soft, open, inquisitive? What are your feelings and concerns around your child in this moment? How you are feeling? Stay with this for a moment or so.

16. Now is a gradual time of letting go, lightening your contact until your hands softly leave the direct contact of your child’s body. Feel the continuing connection through you witnessing them and in light of this small journey you have made together and all you have experienced. There is now a gradual softening out and re-positioning into your own separate body-support. Check in with your breathing- how does it feels to now be out of this physical contact with your child whilst keeping them in your thoughts?

17. Now talk through this ending with your child -that the session is coming to an end. Count slowly and evenly to five and with one final soft clap, end the session. Then prepare them for the next phase of their day as you both transition into other activities or needs.


Note: Doing these sessions for around 20-30 mins every day, at more or less the same time, will create a clear space for you and your child to relax together and to pause for a moment.

Ruth Solomon MRSS

Shiatsu Practitioner and Creative Tutor