Stress can be dangerous and adults aren’t the only ones who feel its harmful effects. As early as first grade, kids are able to identify what stress is and report feeling that they’re under stress. Stress may impair cognitive development in children, so it’s important to learn how to live a balance life, reduce stress, and make time for relaxation and downtime for you and your children.
If your kids are showing signs of being under stress, which can include irritability, moodiness, complaining, crying, withdrawal from activities and changes in sleeping or eating patterns, try these simple calming down practices.
Use Affirmations Teach your children to take a break and say positive statements like, “I am calm. I am relaxed. I am peaceful. I am happy. I am safe.” Write a positive affirmation down on paper and have your child carry it in their pocket for the day.
Use Visualizations Tap into your child’s imagination and encourage your child to create a happy thought that they 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, such as riding a cloud, sliding down a rainbow, or floating in a bubble.
Use the Breath When a child is showing signs of stress, your first reaction should be to have them take a moment to pause and calm down. 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.
Use Art or Music Children of all ages respond extremely well to scrapbooking and collaging. Getting together some magazines, stickers, markers and glitter and letting your kids get creative can be an easy and effective way to reduce tension. Music therapy can relax the mind just as effectively as deep breathing and visualization techniques, and you can practice it in the comfort of your own home.
Use Movement Visiting the park or playground to play basketball, going for a bike ride or taking a swim can go a long way to help kids reduce stress. For kids who take to quieter activities, a contemplative practice like yoga can be an excellent way to promote mindfulness and emotional stability.
Use Touch In addition to giving your kids hugs, it’s important to teach them to soothe themselves. Hugging oneself is a simple exercise inspired by lovingkindness meditation, but it can help kids feel comforted instantly.
As a parent, it is natural for you to want to take away the cause of your child’s stress. If you can, remove or minimize the stressor by helping your child focus on the process of learning a new skill versus being the best at it and communicate that mistakes are okay and part of the overall process. If despite your best efforts, you are unable to ease your child’s emotional distress, it’s best to seek out help from a doctor or counselor.
Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care
It can be scary any time your child is sick, but rest assured that AllKids Urgent Care is here to help guide you every step of the way with a caring and knowledgeable pediatric staff. Both our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care and our Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care are open every day, from noon to 10 p.m. No appointment is necessary, just stop in and start your child on the road back to health.