Stress and anxiety are something we all deal with at some point in our lives and about different issues. Both parents and children can feel overwhelmed by these feelings and it is important to take practical steps that can help you deal with it effectively. Here are 10 calming exercises you can do at home with your child to help manage stress and/or anxiety.
1. Cosmic Yoga
When it comes to yoga, very few resources are designed with kids in mind. One exception is Cosmic Yoga. This creative and gentle approach will help you and your child stretch your body and mind. Best of all, these short videos are free!
2. Art Therapy
Being creative is a great way to deal with stress. Try your hand at watercolor art or make a DIY calm down jartogether. If you don’t have traditional art supplies on hand, look for items around your home or recyclables to pair with your imagination.
3. Belly Breathing
Often when we feel stress or anger, we begin taking shallow breaths with our chest and not long deep breaths that come from our diaphragm. Belly breathing is the solution to this problem and it takes just moments to learn.
Mindfulness is something everyone can benefit from. Luckily, there are many ways you can practice it. Mindfulness activities for kids experiment with sight, sound, taste, touch and more. Try them with your child.
5. Guided Imagery
Focusing on one object or learning to let go of thoughts can be challenging for kids and adults alike. This is where guided imagery can help. Instead of traditional meditation, you and your child can simply close your eyes, follow detailed scripts and mentally immerse yourselves in various situations to promote relaxation.
Some sensory items like Play-Doh, rice, beans and foam are naturally comforting to play with. Boost their calming effect by adding soothing scents like lavender.
7. 5-4-3-2-1 Relaxation
This is a popular method for both meditation and anxiety relief. Simply have your child note 5 things they can see, 4 things they can touch, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell, and 1 they can taste. The technique works great for adults too!
8. Pressure Play
For some people, pressure is extremely comforting. Try a deep pressure massage or a weighted vest or blanket during tense moments. Be aware that not everyone finds deep pressure soothing, so it’s best to use this technique with care.
9. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation works by tensing isolated areas of the body briefly and then fully relaxing them. This practice is sure to reveal how much stress you’re holding in your body without realizing it. You can find full instructions here.
10. Butterfly Hug
The butterfly hug is an easy way to ground oneself during anxious moments. While this method was developed to help treat trauma survivors, its simplicity and comfort lend well to managing day-to-day stress too. Check out this short tutorial here to learn the technique.
As you can see there are many ways you can practice calming exercises at home. Try each activity on the list. You and your child are sure to find one that works for you!