Children don’t need stress relief tips … or do they? You might be surprised.
True, your kiddos probably don’t have to worry about paying bills, going to work, or getting dinner on the table. But that doesn’t mean that they’re completely carefree. We all like to think of our kids as happy-go-lucky bundles of joy, but the sad fact is that they deal with anxiety and stress just like we do.
It doesn’t matter whether you have toddlers or teenagers. All kids have problems they need to deal with, and worries they need to face. Left unchecked, this worry and anxiety can quickly lead to a number of dangerous health problems. Because of this, it’s crucial for parents to help children manage and relieve their stress.
Ready to get started? Here are ten stress relief tips you can use to help your kids manage the stressors in their lives.
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Stress Relief Tips for Kids
1. Reduce Your Own Stress
Whether you realize it or not, kids of all ages pick up on what you’re feeling, and often look to you for guidance, so that they can mimic your reaction to the situation in front of them. This means that if you’re anxious, they will be too – regardless of the circumstance.
Because of this, it’s important that you do what you can to manage and reduce your own stress. Thankfully, many of the tips below will help you with this just as much as they will your children.
2. Try Not To Criticize
Yes, your child may have failed a test, or missed a goal in a match. But as parents, it’s important we try NOT to criticize them for these things. All this does is create fear and anxiety, which will make it even harder for them next time they encounter this situation.
Instead of criticizing, a better tactic is to calmly ask if there’s anything you can do to help them be better next time. You should also praise them when they do things right, so they associate situations with positivity instead.
3. Make Your Mornings Calmer
Disorganized and chaotic homes can wreak havoc on your child’s stress levels, so it’s crucial that you do what you can to keep things calm and predictable. This is especially important in the mornings, as they set the tone for the rest of the day.
Because of this, you need to follow a schedule or routine every morning to ensure that every member of your family knows what they should be doing. Chore charts, morning routine contracts – whatever works to help everyone stay on task, trust me it will make a HUGE difference! Along these lines, prepping things the night before (making school lunches, laying out clothes, etc.) is also a major help in cutting back on morning chaos and morning stress.
4. Cut Down Their Schedule
Despite what some people think, “busy” doesn’t always mean “happy.” In fact, it rarely does.
Yes, you want to keep your child active and engaged. BUT don’t forget that they need time to relax and rejuvenate too! Rather than piling their schedules high with activities, go over your kids’ schedules to see if they have plenty of unstructured time for free play. If not, consider cutting a few things out. This way, they have some downtime to kick back in front of the television, play with their siblings, or just chill out.
5. Make Sleep A Priority
Lack of sleep leaves kids exhausted, cranky, emotional, and, of course, stressed. So it’s vital that you do what you can to ensure that your children get enough sleep each and every night.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tips to improve bedtime. One of the most important to consider is customizing bedtime routines for your individual children, rather than using the same one for each child. Once you’ve got this down, your kids should fall asleep much easier at night.
6. Encourage Them To Exercise
Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins in the body, which are chemicals that fight feelings of stress and return your body into a calmer and more relaxed state.
Because of this, you need to encourage your children to exercise as much as you can. Consider signing them up to a school sports team, or take them to swimming classes after school. You could also play active games with them on the weekend, like hide and seek, or go for hikes and walks as a family. Our personal family favorite is doing kids’ yoga videos together.
7. Focus on Healthy Eating
The food you eat has a direct impact on your physical health, but what many people don’t realise is that it affects your mental health too. This means that, if you want to help relieve stress in your children, you need to ensure that they’re eating three healthy and nutritious meals every single day. You should also try to incorporate different anti-anxiety foods into their diet, and cut out caffeine and sugar as much as possible. Also, make sure that they drink water to stay hydrated.
8. Do Something Fun Together
One of the easiest ways to fight stress is just to do something fun. This makes you feel happier, and also distracts you from whatever it was that was bothering you in the first place.
Because of this, you should ensure that you always carve out some time to spend with your kids doing something you both enjoy. This could be a hobby you share, or just watching a movie at home. As long as you’re both happy, you’re on the right track.
9. Be There To Talk
When you notice that your child seems stressed, you need to let them know that you’re there if they need to talk.
A great way to open the lines of communication is to simply ask how their day is going. This is much better than outright asking them what’s wrong. The more neutral “how’s it going?” is less likely to make them shut down, and gives them the chance to offer up information freely. Starting this conversation is important, as you might be able to offer advice or a solution to their problems.
And be careful when you ask this question to make sure it’s open-ended, rather than something that can be answered with a simple yes/no. My own personal hack for this is asking each family member, in turn, “Tell us about your day” over the dinner table. This way, everyone gets a chance to talk, and no one can get away with a one-word answer. If it’s clear that something is wrong with one of the girls after school, they often won’t talk about it when they first get off the bus; but they always bring it up at dinner when it’s their turn to share their day with the rest of us.
10. Speak To A Professional
As much as you yourself might want to help your children, sometimes certain problems are too big or complicated for you to handle alone. If you think that your child is experiencing high levels of stress, and you don’t know what else you can do to help, then you should speak to a professional. They will be able to offer advice and resources to help your child cope and combat their stress.
Unfortunately, kids deal with stress just like adults do. But these kid-friendly stress relief tips are surefire hacks for parents to help children manage and relieve their stress and anxiety.
What are your favorite stress relief tips for families? Let us know in the comments!