Children often face stressful situations, and traditional methods such as deep breathing do not always help them cope. When your child needs to relieve stress quickly, try one of the methods suggested below.
1. Put the child upside down. Many centuries ago, yogis discovered that the position of the body, in which the head is below the level of the heart, has a calming effect on the body. To relax, the child should bend over, reaching his palms to his toes, or stand on his head. The inverted position of the body strengthens the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s stress reactions.
2. Try visualization. Studies show that visualization reduces stress levels. Invite your child to close their eyes and imagine a quiet, peaceful place. Then help her present this picture in detail. Ask what this place looks like, what smells there, what the child feels while there.
3. Invite your child to drink water. Dehydration leads to a decrease in mental productivity. Give the child a glass of cold water and sit for a while. Drink a glass of water yourself and you will notice how this procedure calms the nervous system.
4. Sing something. Everyone knows that your favorite songs lift your spirits. In addition, loud singing (even if you are a little fake) promotes the production of “happiness hormones” – endorphins.
5. Take the “dog pose with a squeak down.” The pose, known in yoga as “Dog squeaking down”, as well as the inverted position of the body, restores the autonomic nervous system. It also stretches the muscles of the arms, legs, and torso, which leads to the burning of glucose produced by the body’s reactions to stress.
6. Draw. Drawing not only helps to distract from the source of stress but also develops stress resistance. If you are frightened to even by the thought that the child will paint with paints, let the child paint, for example, shaving cream on the curtain in the shower. The blind will be easy to wash, and the child will not smear everything around.
7. Jump over the skipping rope. Set a timer for two minutes, turn on the music, and let the child jump rope to the beat of the music. If it is difficult for a child to jump rope, he can just jump on the spot.
8. Jump high. Arrange competition with the child who jumps higher, farther, or faster. This is another simple but effective way to release steam through physical activity.
9. Let the soap bubbles. Blowing a windmill or blowing bubbles – such activities will help the child to control breathing and at the same time normalize the mental state. In addition, the child will probably like to run after the bubbles that burst.
10. Take a hot bath. After a hard day’s work, there is nothing more pleasant than lying in a hot bath in complete silence with a dim light. This procedure will also help the child to calm down, relax and distract from all activities. Let her take her favorite toy with her to the bathroom and relax as much as she needs to.
11. Take a cold shower. Although this method is completely opposite to the previous one, it also strengthens the body. A cold or even cool shower helps to relieve muscle tension, improves blood flow to the heart, significantly improves mood. A study involving people who practice hardening showed that regular bathing in cold water reduces stress, fatigue, depression, and negative emotions. For very young children, bathing in cold water is undesirable. It is better to gradually reduce the water temperature or try a contrast shower.
12. Drink warm drinks. Warm drinks on a cool day give the body a feeling of warmth. It’s like a hug from the inside. A cup of hot chocolate or warm milk will help your baby quickly acquire a state of harmony.
13. Blow out the candles. Light a candle and ask your child to blow it out. Then light it again, but at the same time move it away from the child. Each time the child will need to breathe deeper and deeper to blow out the candle. So in the form of a game, you can teach a child to breathe deeply.
14. Watch the aquarium fish. Have you ever wondered why hospitals often have aquariums? According to research, monitoring aquarium fish lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Moreover, the larger the aquarium, the more effective its action. When you need to calm your child, take him to a local pond or aquarium for a small session of “fish therapy”.
15. Count from 100 to 1. The number in reverse order not only allows the child to be distracted from what worries him. It also develops concentration and is useful for preschoolers in preparation for school.
16. Repeat the mantras. Think of a mantra that the child can use to calm down. The phrases “I’m calm” or “I’m confident” are good.
17. Breathe through your stomach. Most of us do not breathe well, especially in stressful situations. Invite the child to imagine that her stomach is a balloon. The child must breathe deeply to fill the ball with air. Repeat this simple exercise five times and you will see that the child will become much calmer.
18. Jog. Running reduces stress more effectively than a visit to a psychologist. A ten-minute light jog will not only improve the child’s mood but also allow him to cope with stress for several hours.
19. Count to five. When your child thinks she can’t control her emotions, ask her to close her eyes and count to five. This kind of five-second meditation will allow the brain to “reboot” and look at the situation from another angle. It will also teach the child to think carefully before taking any action in a stressful situation.
20. Speak up. Children who are able to speak freely about their feelings and what worries them, early learn to understand situations and their own attitude to them. Parents should not immediately advise the child on how to solve the problem. First, listen to your child and ask them leading questions to help clarify the situation.
21. Write a letter to yourself. We will never be as critical of our friends as we are of ourselves. The same thing happens with children. Teach them to be kinder to themselves, and in difficult situations, ask what they would say to their best friend in such a situation.
22. Decorate the wall. It’s not about paints and decorations, you can just hang a poster or a picture from a magazine on the wall. This will help the child to show their creativity. In such a case, the creative process itself is important, not the result.
23. Make a visualization board. Have the child cut out phrases and pictures from magazines that illustrate his or her interests and dreams. Stick them on a special board on the wall. This activity will help the child not only to understand what he wants from life but also will be able to distract from the source of stress in difficult moments, focusing on what she is really interested in.
24. Hug the baby or let him hug you. Hugs promote the production of oxytocin – a hormone that ensures the body’s immune system. 20-second hugs reduce pressure, improve well-being and reduce stress reactions. Hugs will benefit both you and your baby.
25. Take a walk in nature. According to research, 50-minute walks in nature improve mental processes and reduce stress. If you do not have so much free time, then even a 15-minute walk in the fresh air will help your child cope with stress.
26. Imagine yourself in a few years. This is a great way to motivate your child to set goals for the future and strive for them. Have her write down how she wants to see herself in a week, month, year, or longer.
27. Blow on the windmill. As with candles, this exercise trains the child’s breathing, but here the emphasis is on controlled exhalation, not deep breathing. The child should make the windmill spin slowly, then fast, then slowly again. So she will learn to regulate her breathing.
28. Sculpt from plasticine. During modeling, the part of the brain responsible for stress reactions becomes inactive because the impulses activate other parts of the brain. You can buy plasticine in the store or make it with your own hands.
29. Work with clay. A similar effect is observed when working with clay. Allow your child to sculpt something out of clay or make a cup with a potter’s wheel. It is also a great opportunity for a child to learn something interesting and develop a new practical skill.
30. Write. In older children, keeping a diary or simply describing their feelings on paper has a positive effect on mood, especially if they are sure that no one is reading these records. Give the child a notebook and have her describe her feelings. Reassure the child that no one will read her notes until she asks for them. Constantly keeping a diary has a positive effect on the child’s memory, concentration, and thinking.
31. Thank you. In addition to describing the feelings, ask the child to write down who and what she is grateful for. This helps to increase school performance and reduce stress. To do this, you can start a separate “thank you notebook”.
32. Name your emotions. The inability to recognize negative emotions often causes stress in children. If the child is angry, panicking, or suffering from perfectionism, ask him to name this feeling, give it a name. After that, help the child cope with the negative. For example, ask her, “Are you worried about perfection again?” In this game form, you can discuss how to overcome perfectionism, and the child will not be left alone with his feelings.
33. Ride on a swing. Swinging not only strengthens the muscles of the legs and torso but also reduces stress (this effect has a rocking motion). Ride your child on a swing or he can ride on his own to calm his emotions.
34. Push the wall. This is a good way to get rid of stress hormones without leaving the room. The child must push the wall for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise three times. Alternation of muscular efforts and relaxation leads to the production of “happiness hormones”.