Kid-Friendly Relaxation and De-stressing Techniques
Three simple ways to help kids unwind, calm down and avoid a meltdown
While kids may not have to deal with work or bills, they still experience stress. If I’m upset or working through something, I’ll hop on the elliptical to burn off energy, call my mom if I need to vent or just watch some TV so I can turn my brain off for a minute. Everyone deals with stress in different ways. But we need to teach children how to form healthy stress-management habits. Try these three techniques to help little ones manage their stress and emotions.
3 Techniques to Help Kids Unwind and De-stress
1. Get to Their Level
For me, helping a child handle their stress is about communication. If they’re having a super-hyper moment after a birthday party or playdate, I’ll sit with them on the floor so I’m at their eye level and say, “Oh my gosh, it’s been such a fun day, but we need to have some quiet time.” Then I like to give them options on which quiet-time activity we can do, like reading a book or taking a walk. This lets them have some control over the matter while still encouraging them to unwind.
2. Count Your Breaths
Sometimes it just helps to take a few seconds to stop and breathe! Concentrating on breathing is a simple and effective relaxation technique. I like to have the child close their eyes and count to 10 with me. Or, we’ll take three deep breaths and I’ll have them match my pace. This is a really great way to pause and give the child a chance to let go of whatever they’re feeling.
Not the, “Go to your room and think about what you’ve done!” kind of grounding! Grounding is an awesome mindfulness technique that focuses on your surroundings and senses, and it can help kids manage really overwhelming feelings! Whether they’re no longer interested in bed time or in desperate need of a second cookie, grounding forces kids to focus on what’s going on around them. Use the 54321 technique and ask kids to name five things they see, four things they feel, three things they hear, two things they smell and one thing they taste. If that’s too much, just ask them to name one thing they can see, hear and feel. Either way, grounding is super calming and relaxing.
If you’re having one of those days, mama, try these techniques out for yourself! Demonstrating them to your children will help the little ones understand, recognize and practice positive self-soothing techniques. Don’t hesitate to call a girlfriend to talk things through, or set up a playdate to have a more man-to-man defense on the kid front. Being open and communicating your feelings will encourage your kids to do the same.
Remember, always have courage and be kind.