Children and families are experiencing increased stress and anxiety, with many children also suffering from the effects of isolation. As parents and teachers, we are tasked with finding ways to introduce and encourage stress management into our family’s lives while creating new traditions when celebrating the holidays. It doesn’t matter how many years we celebrated in a certain way; there is always room to start a new tradition and add emotional intelligence into our days.
Easter and holidays, in general, provide many opportunities to add new traditions and incorporate stress management.
6 Easter Tips that Encourage Stress Management
Say positive stress-reducing statements
Print out positive statements or affirmations and glue them onto eggs or inside of plastic eggs. “Everything will be OK.” “I am growing.” “I am full of life.” “ I am safe.”
Experience slowing down energy
Experience and talk about slowing down energy and fast energy. Hop around the house or yard like a rabbit and float on a breeze like a bird. Discuss when it is good to use rabbit energy and when it is helpful to have bird energy.
Discuss how colors can help you relax
After coloring eggs, ask everyone about the colors they were drawn to. Do the different colors evoke different feelings? Does light blue make you feel relaxed? Does orange make you feel happy? Create emotional intelligence by increasing awareness of how our environment can make you feel. Introduce your children to the book Bubble Riding, where a sea child and turtle take a relaxing bubble ride through the ocean to learn a fun visualization technique for relaxation.
How does holding the egg in your hand make you feel? Is it relaxing to roll it around in your hands? Can you look at the egg and only think of the egg for any amount of time? How does it feel to stop the chatter in your head? Teach children how to calm down with the 5, 4, 3 ,2, 1 grounding technique. Read more here.
Get moving and working together
- Fill plastic eggs with words that when put together form a sentence consisting of a clue to where a present is hidden. After the kids collect all of the words, they can work together to assemble them into a sentence. For more than one child, use a different color of paper for each child’s sentence.
- Work together to decorate your bicycles with a Spring theme. Go on a scavenger hunt looking for signs of new life. Take photos of signs of Spring.
- Paint or make a birdhouse to hang up.
Think outside of the candy box
A basket can be clothes, jump ropes, seeds, toys, or anything your children may enjoy. One year my children were surprised to receive bags of wildflower seeds with instructions to disperse them on a nearby hill. We had hours of fun spreading seeds.
- Set up a picnic with arts and crafts. Set up a spring-colored picnic blanket outside (or inside if it is cold out). Set out colorful feathers, plastic eggs, and flowers from the dollar store. Glue them onto straw hats or even umbrellas. Be sure to include dad. See who can make the funniest hat. Wear your hats when you go on an egg hunt that the kids set up for you or have a parade.
- Host an Easter brunch on Zoom. While the idea of having a meal over a chat may seem a little strange, but it’s a viable way to get the whole family together. Grandparents and older family members who face higher risks will love seeing everyone.
- Assemble homemade baskets for the elderly or any neighbor you know is alone. Let them know that you have left a special gift for them outside of their door.
- Make a bunny cake. Set aside time to bake together. Springtime is the perfect time to try a carrot cake recipe.
- Encourage diversity and inclusion. Learn what eggs symbolize to various cultures. Discuss your religious symbolism and the personal meaning eggs have to you. Encourage children to share what an egg could represent to them. For some, it represents the celebration of new life, rebirth, new chances, and hope. For others, the circle of life, abundance, joy, newness, feeling strong, feeling fragile, or breaking out of our shells.
Whatever you choose to do with your family this year, do it with an eye towards looking for signs of hope and exploring stress management.
Lori Lite is the founder of Stress Free Kids and a pioneer in introducing children to stress management. After helping her own children, Lori understood that her mission was to empower children to reduce stress, lower anxiety, and manage big emotions. Lori’s ability to incorporate relaxation techniques and mindfulness into a storytelling format made her award-winning titles a worldwide resource for parents, educators, mental health professionals, doctors, yoga instructors, and children. Lori was the first author to appear on ABC’s Emmy-winning television series, Shark Tank, where the sharks listened to her Angry Octopus story and learned breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. For more information about Lori’s books, audiobooks, lesson plans, and other resources, visit www.StressFreeKids.com.