All anxious children can benefit from stress management techniques for children. Children can receive help from many of the same techniques that adults can. The earlier they learn how to control and manage their stress and anxiety the better!
Some of the best stress management techniques for children involve awareness and connection between their body and mind.
Research continuously demonstrates that our physical body suffers from emotional stress. Children can learn of this connection between stress and body and become aware of how their body reacts when under stress. Below are some stress management techniques for children that specifically have to do with relaxing the physical body.
Deep breathing is a skill that can be taught to children, breath should be taken in through their stomach and slowly exhaled. Children should to pay attention to feelings in their body while exhaling. This kind of breathing is one of the quickest and best stress management techniques for children.
Children can be instructed to close their eyes and imagine they are in a beautiful place. They can imagine signs, sounds, and smells in this place and be aware of their breathing and sensations in their body simultaneously.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation teaches children to attend to different parts in their body and tense and relax them thus relieving physical tension. There is one script that is frequently used for children that can be found on the internet by googling “progressive muscle relaxation for children”. Depending on your child’s age you may want to practice this with your child, and later make a tape where your voice is recorded and you walk them through the script.
Children can be taught the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, frequently the best way to do this is for parents to model this behavior.
Other stress management techniques for children have to do with paying attention to their thoughts and beliefs that contribute to stress.
Attending to Thoughts
Children can be taught to pay attention to their thoughts, and that negative and destructive thoughts cause stress. They can also be taught about optimism and pessimism. Awareness of their thoughts can help with their stress level.
Problem Solving/Planning Ahead
Children can be taught to analyze the way they are managing certain stressful situations and generate alternative methods of thinking and behaving.
For example, if test taking is stress provoking for them a good plan would be:
Children can be taught to recognize thoughts, behaviors and feelings in their body that are signs of stress.
Children can create a stress busters box that includes activities that help them relieve stress when they notice any of the above symptoms.
Children can be encouraged to create a card listening people they can go to talk about stress when they recognize it. Anxiety and stress are often well hidden by children and adults, and talking about can provide relief. Leave Stress Management Techniques for Children for Anxiety Disorders