Resources for Managing StressChildren today experience a lot of stress. Stress can be a good thing (giving you a boost of energy for a sporting event, performance, or test). However, too much stress can lead to many unpleasant physical, behavioral, and emotional changes. Some common stressors for kids include big things like moving to a new school (or middle school), parents not getting along or getting divorced, fighting with a friend or sibling, not having enough money, problems with a teacher, not having enough privacy, and taking tests. Smaller things can also cause stress in children, such as being sick or injured, having homework, getting pimples, hard school work, wondering if someone likes you, and having a sibling who is "a pain in the neck". Even some things that kids enjoy can cause them stress, like playing violent video games, listening to loud music too much, eating too much junk food, not getting enough sleep, and not being physically active.
Although you and your child can't eliminate all the stress from their lives (kids will have to do chores, take tests, and learn to manage relationships), there are many things you can do to mitigate the effects of stress. Here are some activity ideas and resources that can help reduce stressful feelings:
Take a walk outside
Call a friend
Listen to some quiet music (classical, relaxing music)
Distract yourself by doing something fun
Read a good book
Draw a picture
Progressive muscle relaxation
Cuddle with your cat/dog
Make a sand garden
Laugh - tell a joke
Random Act of Kindness
Use positive self-talk
Meditate or practice belly breathing for 5-10 minutes
Write in a journal
Knitting or crocheting
Make something with clay
Go for a jog or play a sport (for fun, not competitive)
Throw a ball against wall over and over again
Collect something (shells, coins, stamps)
- Kids' Relaxation and Meditation Techniques: http://kidsrelaxation.com/ This blog, created by a school psychologist, has many fun and creative ideas to help children relax and reduce stress/anxiety.
- BAM! (Body and Mind, a kid-centered website by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): http://www.cdc.gov/bam/life/butterflies.html This page, "Got Butterflies", explains the difference between short term and long term stress in a kid-friendly way. The follow-up page, Feelin Frazzled... (http://www.cdc.gov/bam/life/frazzled.html) has 10 suggestions for activities that kids can do to relieve stress.
- The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids by Lawrence E. Shapiro and Robin K. Sprague - This book is full of advice and 55 activities to help your family (1) reduce stress, fear, and worry, (2) become more confident, relaxed, and resilient, and (3) manage difficult emotions.
- Indigo Ocean Dreams: 4 Children's Stories Designed to Decrease Stress, Anger and Anxiety while Increasing Self-Esteem and Self-Awareness [Audio CD] - This CD contains four audio books (which can also be purchased separately in print / kindle editions) that teach relaxation techniques to children.