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April 3, 2011

Helping Children Cope with Stress

Author: JenniferMaster1

How can we help children learn to better deal with stress? One thing we can do is teach children how to relax. To help children relax, they first need to learn the difference between how their bodies feel when they are tense, and how their bodies feel when they are relaxed. When people of all ages recognize how stress feels, they usually gain a sense of healing and have more control over their emotions. This, in turn, can help them reduce their anxious response to stressors. Here are some great exercises to help with that.

DEEP MUSCLE RELAXATION
(The Rag Doll Exercise)
1. Tense the muscles to maximum degree so fists are tight.
2. Hold the tension for about two second and notice how it feels.
3. Relax the muscles and fists to become a rag doll.
4. Enjoy how it feels to be a rag doll for about 10 seconds. Repeat several times.

DEEP BREATHING
(The Rag Doll Exercise II)
Ask the child to take a deep breath, hold it and then exhale slowly.While the child relaxes, encourage him/her to relax the whole body from head to toe, again to become like a rag doll.

TRAIN ENGINEER EXERCISE
Have the child blow:
1. Whistles 2. Harmonicas 3. Party horns 4. Pinwheels 5. Bubble wands

Ask the child to talk about his/her feelings when they experience these activities. Did they feel better, happier, etc.?

HELP CHILDREN EXPRESS FEELINGS
Give children outlets to share their experiences, concerns, and fears. Some feelings are best expressed through talking, drawing, and writing. Activities that promote the sharing of experiences and feelings include:
1. Role play or dramatic play
2. Drawing a picture and discuss it
3. Storytelling
4. Puppet shows
5. Making scrapbooks, replicas with play dough, etc.

Expression can help relieve tension, fear and anxiety. Don’t forget children’s literature. Using children’s books can help children see similar situations in different perspective so they can re-think the experience and relate to the stressful situation differently. There are also books at the library on parents’ divorce, illness, death, loss of a job, new sibling, etc. that can help the whole family deal with such events.

THINGS ADULTS & CHILDREN CAN DO TOGETHER TO REDUCE STRESS
find images in clouds–day dream–listen to the rain–watch the snow fall–make up a fairytale/story–watch fish swim–paint, draw, color–play with a dog or cat–laugh and be silly–go for a walk–exercise–go on a picnic–dance–fish–listen to soothing music–make a special food–read a favorite book– look at family pictures–blow bubbles–play with play dough or silly putty

To read an article on symptoms of stress in children click here.
To sign up for a free energy video with techniques on reducing stress for yourself or children, click here.

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21 Responses to “Helping Children Cope with Stress”

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