by Lori Lite
Children are vulnerable to stress. Thirteen out of one hundred children experience some kind of anxiety disorder and many more are just stressed out! Living a balanced life and reducing stress in kids is a challenge for most families. With very little effort you can offer your children the tools they need to maintain emotional balance. Consider filling your child’s emotional backpack with solutions and techniques they can use 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 which will result in reducing stress in kids:
Use affirmations or positive statements to counteract your child’s 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. For added fun put affirmations in a fish bowl by the front door. Grab an affirmation on the way out to school.
(Affirmation Weaver is a story that encourages positive statements.)
Create 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. Go for a calming ride on a cloud or float in a bubble. Slide down a rainbow and watch your child use their very own relaxation story or guided imagery as a relaxation tool. For added fun write the story down or record it.
(A Boy and a Turtle is a story that introduces visualizing.)
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. Remind your child to use their breathing tool. Breathe in 2,3,4 and out 2,3,4. In 2,3,4 and out 2,3,4. For added fun encourage your child to show one of their dolls or stuffed animals this technique.
(Sea Otter Cove is a story that introduces breathing.)
Use progressive muscle relaxation to help your child to fall asleep. Relax your child’s mind and body by sending a signal of relaxation to various muscle groups. 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 added fun try active progressive muscular relaxation. Tighten muscle groups and relax. “Hold, hold, hold….. Ahhhhh…”
(The Goodnight Caterpillar is a story that introduces passive progressive muscle relaxation.)
Indigo Dreams shorter stories with relaxation techniques for younger child.
Indigo Ocean Dreams longer stories with relaxation techniques for older children.
Indigo Teen Dreams guided instructions with relaxation techniques for teens.
Indigo Dreams: Adult Relaxation guided instructions with relaxation techniques for adults.
Indigo Dreams: Garden of Wellness stories for all children includes techniques to release anger and positive statements to encourage healthy eating.
Lori Lite is a blogger, social media strategist, Twitter specialist, parenting expert, and successful entrepreneur. Her line of books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, teachers, doctors, and yoga instructors. Lori’s received national attention on Shark Tank and her sort after accessible tips have been featured in hundreds of publications to include: CNN Living, Real Simple Magazine, USA Today, Family Circle, Working Mother Magazine, and Web MD. Lori consults and collaborates with heart driven companies and entrepreneurs to bring their message or product to parents nationwide. For more information visit Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.