by Joy Adamonis
Most adults would agree they have been stressed once in their lifetime. Unfortunately, children are not immune from experiencing stress. Just as some adults have a hard time understanding what makes them stressed and why, the same goes for our children. School, homework, sports, appointments, making time for friends, family time –there is stress at any age.
Children should never be left to fend for themselves when experiencing symptoms of stress. Mood swings, short-term behavioral changes, changes in their sleep patterns and bedwetting can all be indicators of stress. Some children experience physical effects such as headaches and stomachaches. Through active communication, positive affirmations and self-care, kids (and adults) can help limit or reverse the effects of stress. Below are some other ways to help your kids feel less stressed.
Practicing simple yoga postures is a great way to alleviate pressure placed onto kids. Yoga can help children learn to be calm, improve their sleep and contribute to an overall positive sense of well-being; all are great coping mechanisms for handling stress. Yoga guides you into a relaxed state and helps trigger stress receptors; but in a positive way. My favorite poses for kids are cat pose, downward dog, chair, pigeon and corpse pose. They all provide a different stretch and overall feeling of calm during the practice. To learn more about poses, your local library or bookstore can serve as a great resource. Namaste.
Partake in a favorite childhood pastime with your kids to help whisk those blues away. Grab some crayons, a coloring book or blank sketchpad. Perhaps invest in one of those new fancy doodling books that are all the rage. All you need to do is add some color and your imagination. Research has shown that coloring is a therapeutic activity, known to reduce stress and provide you with a sense of calm. You don’t need to be an artist to obtain the benefits; so get doodling or coloring. The choice is yours.
Learning the art of controlled breathing is a great stress and anger management tool your child can use for years to come. Taking deep, slow breaths can slow down your body’s natural response to stress. When you are stressed, you tend to have a higher heart rate, higher blood pressure and might feel jittery. Controlled breathing can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure and help you feel like you are once again in control. A simple breathing technique is the “1-2-3” breath. Take a deep breath as you count to 3 and hold it for a moment. Release, counting down from 3. Simple, easy and effective.
As mentioned earlier, these techniques can be used regardless of age. Practice these yourself, and/or with your child to manage daily stresses. Children can sense when we as parents are stressed. Coping with our own stress in a more mindful way can have a positive influence on our children. These are just some of the stress-relieving activities that are out there. Discover what helps you and your child live a more mindful, less stressful life and embrace it.
Joy Adamonis is a local freelance writer and blogger. She is a devoted mom and wife who enjoys living an active lifestyle. Running has transformed her life and helped maintain her 75-pound weight-loss. She advocates for positive body image, mental illness awareness and better education. Read more from Joy at www.mysensationalkid.com.