Kids Need to Learn Stress Relief, Too

stressed out child - kids need to learn to relax tooWhen it comes to stress relief, many of us think about the things that bother us as adults: bills, transportation, work issues, family life and more.  But stress is not just for adults, and many children, even younger ones, suffer from problems with stress, too.  By teaching your children healthy ways to cope with stress at a young age, you can help them develop healthy habits that will help them become happier adults.

Stress in Kids?

Many children become stressed due to a troubled home life.  Problems like divorce, a long-distance move, serious illness, abuse and more all cause significant amounts of stress in a child's life.  But there are less traumatic events, like peer pressure and teasing, that can also cause a child to feel stressed out.

Unlike the past, families are not as connected as they once were, and children may lack the support systems needed to help them cope.  It is up to parents to teach their children about stress and a healthy way to handle it.  There are several activities that you can try with kids as young as three.

Another common reason for stress in kids is taking on too many activities. My childhood seems a lot simplier than my sons. Todays kids have a lot going on in comparison. School, karate, soccer, swimming amongst other things. Its good to keep kids busy and involved, but at the same time they need their downtime too to recharge, or else they may feel overwhelmed and the result can be behaviorial issues.

Here are a few tips to help your kids de-stress.

The Breathing Room

Whenever a child is angry, we can create a safe space for children to go and relax.  Though traditionally this is a separate room, people may not have the space and can just create a cozy corner and cordon it off with a screen or other partition.

The breathing room is a safe place.  All that's needed are a few cushions on the floor, and a large bell.  Someone rings the bell, and whoever is in the room silently sits and begins breathing.  This can go on five minutes to an hour, though younger children may have a hard time sitting still for that long.  Encourage your children whenever they are emotional to go into the breathing room and spend a couple of minutes getting quiet.  This may seem impossible, but with time and practice with the entire family, you will be amazed at the results.

Stiff Legs

By teaching children how to stiffen their muscles, they can learn how to relax them as well.  Have your children pretend they are little wooden toys and walk around the room.  Them have them sit down comfortably and relieve the pressure.  By learning to relax their muscles, they will learn to relax the body.  Have them go through limb by limb, tightening and then relaxing each muscle.

No matter what the problem, make a routine with your children.  When they are upset, have them go to the breathing room and get quiet before explaining what is going on.  Teach your kids how to communicate without getting so anxious they can't even speak.  No matter what you do, you are well on your way to making things better for your kids.  Stress relief techniques started young will become especially beneficial as your kids grow into healthy, balanced adults.  These techniques can be especially helpful when a child is transitioning into adulthood, as the changes going on inside and out can be too overwhelming to handle without some form of positive stress relief.

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October 2, 2008

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