6 Ways to Help Children Relieve Stress
As a parent it can be hard to see your child stressed out. Every parent wants their child to have a happy, peaceful childhood. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help your child process stress in a positive way. These six techniques can help your child to get stress under control.
1. Watch for Changes in Behavior
Children and adults react to stress in similar ways. As a parent, it is important that you notice the changes in your child’s behavior that may indicate they are not managing stress well. Just like an adult, a child may “act out” when they are under stress, including a negative change in behavior. They may be short with people around them, intolerant of others, or may withdraw into themselves.
Other signs that a parent should consider a warning sign that their child is stressed out are changes in eating habits. Some children may refuse food, while other children may overeat to deal with stressful feelings. If you suspect your child is not dealing with stress well, you can try the following techniques.
2. Utilize Meditation
Children as young as four years old can learn how to meditate. According to the International Yoga Institute, 10 times more children have been taught to meditate to control stress in 2017 than in 2012. Meditation can be a powerful tool to control stress, and it is something that every parent can do with their child.
There are special meditation practices specifically for children that a parent can participate in. There are plenty of online resources that can teach a parent how to teach their child to meditate. It is something you can do together.
3. Try Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can help a child to control feelings of stress. A parent that is concerned about how their child is handling a stressful situation can do the following exercise with their child. Breathe in through the nose for a count of seven. Hold your breath for a count of five. Blow out the breath forcefully through the mouth for a count of seven. Repeat the process ten times.
Not only will the child feel instantly calm but the parent that is participating in the exercise will also feel calm. This breathing technique can instantly calm anyone down.
4. Do Something Enjoyable Together
A quite peaceful activity shared with a parent is a good stress reliever for both the parent and the child. For example, a recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens found that 50% of participants found that gardening calmed them. The simple act of growing something can bring a lot of peace. Of course, the activity does not have to be gardening, it can be as simple as having time set aside to read together, paint together, or sit and watch the world go by on the porch.
5. Get a Children’s Massage
Adults that have had a massage fully understand that massages are great for stress relief. As a matter of fact, about 23% of people that received a massage between July 2013 through July 2014 reported that they got the massage to relax and destress. A professional massage can be a great way to help your child to destress and relax.
6. Model Stress Busting Strategies
As a parent, you are the most important role model in your child’s life. If you model positive ways to deal with stress, they will follow your lead. Every parent has stress they have to deal with, and every child is taking cues from that parent to learn how to deal with stress. Model behavior is positive. For example, when you are feeling stressed out, take a walk, and take your child with you. Explain that you need to take the walk because you are feeling stressed.
Stress is a natural part of life. There is no way to avoid every stressor, but you can help your child to deal with stress in a positive way. Every parent should talk to their child about stressful situations and how they can manage those feelings. If you feel like you need help coping or that your child needs help coping, there is professional help available.