Managing stress and anxiety for children is a rough enough thing when the world is seemingly a happy place. Now, with the sudden changes caused by COVID-19 forcing children to learn from home without their friends and comfort zones, giving way to some of the most abundant protesting the U.S. has ever seen, with the underlying fact that the coronavirus is still alive an well, stress is almost unavoidable for people of all ages. Stress and anxiety can lead to childhood mental health issues if not managed, and here are 5 relaxation techniques for stressed youngsters.
Take a Hike (In a Nice Way!)
With summer here and cyber school over, many kids have a lot of time on their hands, and with so many distractions in the media, both social and regular, outside time is more valuable than ever. Depending on your location and the age of your children, simply letting them go frolic around isn’t a bad idea, but if you can join them and teach them about the parts of nature you’re seeing, that will only add to the stress relief, as their brains focus on what’s in front of them and not what’s stressing them.
The benefits of relaxation are aplenty, and one of the easiest things your children can do anywhere and everywhere to relax is to take some big, deep breaths. Helping your kids understand that stress is a normal thing that everyone experiences will allow them to recognize when it’s creeping up. The easiest way to explain breathing techniques to youngsters is the flower/birthday cake method. Tell them to breathe in slowly with their nose just like they’re smelling a flower and want to get ever scent, and tell them to exhale as if they were blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.
Shoulder roll breathing helps involve the body, thus releasing more physical tension and is simply lifting shoulders up during an inhale and lowering them down when they exhale.
Mastering meditation is a feat unachievable even by most adults, but that’s it’s referred to as “practicing” yoga, and starting your kids early with practice of any kind just sets them up for a better future. When it comes to yoga, that means a future with less stress and the physical and mental side-effects that come with that stress.
Sometimes used in the school guidance counselor’s office as a resource to calm down students, mindfulness practices have been proven to help kids overcome bullying, improve focus and social skills, be more attentive, and ultimately perform better as students. One of the most successful techniques for youngsters in “mindful posing.” Encourage your kid(s) to find his or her favorite place in the house, and have them do poses and flexes of their favorite TV characters or superheroes. You’ll either get them to laugh, or feel like a superhero… or both in most cases!
Playing light, ambient music for your kids helps reduce stress and ultimately builds focus. With relaxation as the ultimate goal for stress, the calming effects that music can have are almost unparalleled. Having your kids focus on the music is one means of utilizing it, but even a soft soundtrack to another de-stressing activity will only help your cause.
Kids don’t have to be under a lot of stress to do these acts, and even people in the most positive mindsets practice relaxation techniques so they reach those mindsets more frequently and stay in them for longer periods of time. As your children continue to grow, encourage them to start doing some of these activities on their own. The breathing exercises are a great place to start because they can be done alone and anywhere on the globe that stress might creep up. Minimizing stress for your children will also lead to less stress for you, so keeping at it is truly better for everyone you come in contact with, and you and your children’s physical and mental well-being.