Stress management for kids is more important than ever, especially with the fast paced existence our children and teens live.
Gone are the days when after school activities meant meeting in the vacant lot for a game of marbles or kick the can, and summer vacation was one sunny afternoon after another filled with lazy book reading and rambles through the woods. These days we schedule our children's lives down to the nanosecond, forgetting how needed a simple time to decompress may be.
Instead we make sure they have after school dance or piano lessons, weekend sports, summer science camp and a multitude of other extra curricular activities to ensure that every waking minute is chock full of "learning experiences". In the meantime kids can build up stress simply from trying to keep up, or
over not living up to expectations. This often expresses itself in nervous habits such as nail biting, or even physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach trouble.
Fortunately there are plenty of
stress management activities
for kids that can help take the edge off of their hurried existence. These include both loosely structured and completely unstructured types of play.
Daydreaming is actually one of the best forms of
This can be accomplished simply by letting your child go to bed a little early or scheduling a naptime or 'quiet time' a few times a week. No television or video games - just relax, and perhaps have a good light fiction book on hand. A little escapism is healthy, and can open the door to creativity as they expand their fantasy world.
Playing with and caring for a pet can be a time to de-stress as well. The simple physical interaction with an animal (who won't have expectations to be met) can let your child or teen relax and have some simple fun. Petting and playing with an animal companion is a known way to reduce stress and anxiety.
Singing makes nearly anyone feel good. Invest in some simple music karaoke videos and a microphone, and let your kids belt out their favorites in the garage or basement. They'll burn off nervous energy and have a blast.
Game playing (especially simple play like freeze tag, hacky-sack or throwing a Frisbee) can detach your child from stress and anxiety and give them a chance to immerse themselves in a physical activity that takes their minds off everything for a while.
Non-competitive sports can
without sharp competition. Consider bowling or some other type of sport that can be focused more on beating one's own score than competing.
Getting creative is another terrific way to let out feelings of frustration or anxiety. Give them time to site down and write about or draw their fantasy worlds, thoughts and imaginings.
Teens often start having higher stress levels in high school, so think ahead and act early to provide stress management for kids you love. This will ensure they are accustomed to dealing with their anxiety in a healthy way, and could prevent many stress related disorders as they grow into adults.