Reducing Stress in Kids
By: Lori Lite
Children are vulnerable to stress. Make sure that their emotional backpack is filled with tools for stress management and relaxation. Kids can be active participants in creating their own healthy, calm lives.
- Be aware that change, be it positive or negative, creates stress for most kids.
- Make time to relax and schedule downtime for your children. Do not over-schedule.
- Show your child how to maintain a positive outlook, stop the chatter and lists in their heads, and take their mind off of their worries.
Here are 4 tips and proven techniques to help you and your children manage stress:
- Use affirmations or positive statements to counteract kids’ stress.
Teach your children to take a break and say, “I am calm. I am relaxed. I am peaceful. I am happy. I am safe.” Write a positive statement and have your child carry it in their pocket for the day. Put a list in the back of their school notebook for them to access at any time.
- Create visualizations – imagining can be both fun and effective.
Create a happy thought that children can “go to” when stressed or worried. Develop a short story or scene that your child can think of when they are fearful or anxious.. Go for a calming ride on a cloud or float in a bubble. Slide down a rainbow and encourage your child to create their own relaxing story. Let them write it down or record it and then let them relax mom or dad with their visualization.
- Practice controlled breathing.
Taking slow deep breaths can help lower a child’s anxiety and anger. All children can benefit from this important powerful stress and anger management technique. Children with special needs; Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, SPD, PTSD can learn to bring their energy level down a notch and feel in charge of themselves. Children can use breathing when they feel over-stimulated or on a verge of a temper tantrum, have them focus on their breathing and soothe themselves. Breathe in 2,3,4 and out 2,3,4. In 2,3,4 and out 2,3,4. Encourage your child to show one of their dolls or stuffed animals this technique.
- Use progressive muscle relaxation to help your child to fall asleep.
Relax your child’s mind and body by telling various muscle groups to relax. Start with your child’s feet and work your way up to their head or reverse the order. After a few tries your child will be able to use this technique on their own. “I am going to relax my legs. I will relax my legs. My legs are relaxing. My legs are relaxed.” For a variation, try active progressive muscular relaxation. Tighten muscle groups and relax. “Hold, hold, hold…..Ahhhhh…”
These are just a few of the techniques we employ for producing stress free children.
This Months Featured Authors and Vendor Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids
Lori Lite is the founder of Stress Free Kids. Her books, CDs, and curriculums help children and teens decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite has been interviewed and written articles for several media outlets, including: Family Circle, NY Times, MSNBC, ABC Radio; CBS News; USA Today; Web MD. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. She tweets daily stress tips @StressFreeKids.
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