Stress and anxiety management tips for kids of all ages and abilities (in no particular order).
By Kim Norton
1. Just Breathe
Try 4 count breathing (or for or younger kids try 3 counts). Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, breathe out for the count of 4. Repeat 3 more times. When you have become professionals at this, increase the hold and exhale to 5 or 6 counts, eventually building up to 4-7-8 breathing. Practise this daily using props like a pinwheel or party blower.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Simply breathe in and tense your feet muscles, breathe out and release the muscles, release the tension. Breathe in and tense your calf muscles, breathe out and release the muscles, release the tension. Continue up the body finishing with a whole body tense and release. This is a great relaxation exercise to teach our kids some emotional regulation as it enables them to realise what their body feels like when it is relaxed as opposed to stressed or tense. (For an audio link, please see the Rainbow Light Therapies YouTube channel and for a written script, please refer to the website).
3. Write it out – Journal it.
Write down exactly how you feel and when. Use it like a “brain dump” with the intent that once it is down on paper it can no longer take up room in your head. Take note of any patterns that emerge.
eg: feeling angry on the same day each week. Journaling can help you to identify your triggers so that you can implement suitable strategies. Some ideas for journaling prompts and further benefits on journalling can be found on the Rainbow Light Therapies Web site.
4. “I am” Statements
Come up with a list of “I am” statements and pin it to the bedroom mirror, fridge door or somewhere where it is easily visible to you. A list of positive “I am” statements can be a great reminder of your positive attributes and goals and can be a real “pick me up” when you are feeling down. Just remember to keep them realistic and achievable.
5. Guided Meditation
Listen to a guided meditation or some relaxation music. I have recorded some meditations on YouTube or alternatively, look up Jason Stephenson for further meditations that really do work. Use these during the day to calm and ground or before sleep to help calm those monkey minds and ensure a restful slumber.
6. One Minute Meditation
Simply breathe in and breathe out (breathe into your belly if you can). Just concentrate on your breath. Every time your mind wanders just bring it back to your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. One minute is all it takes to reset the mind and calm the body. Breathe in, one, breathe out. Breathe in, two, breathe out and continue for one minute.
Join a local class or gym or work out to a YouTube clip. For our younger kids, Cosmic Kids Yoga is a great resource. Cosmic Kids Yoga clips keep the kids entertained through guided stories whilst incorporating breath work, hand mudras, brain gym and of course yoga. Look them up on YouTube or on the web.
8. Emergency Essence
A blend from Australia Bush Flower Essences that promotes healing on a vibrational level. This 100% natural remedy helps to eliminate feelings of panic, stress and fear, providing comfort, assurance and the ability to cope. Made here with colloidal silver as the preservative and available in drops or spray form. Perfect for our sensitive kids and teens as there is no smell or taste to this blend.
9. Holistic Counselling
Holistic Counsellors treat the person as a whole, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just treating the symptoms of a condition or behaviour. Not just talk therapy (what kid likes to sit and talk about their emotions with a stranger?) On top of the strategies already mentioned here we can use play, art activities and a host of other strategies and modalities to keep hands busy and minds and hearts open.
Stay tuned next edition for “More Stress Busters for Kids and Teens”, an article outlining further strategies for use at home, school and in any environment.
For a personalised stress and anxiety management plan for your child and family, please do not hesitate to contact me to arrange an appointment.
Kim is the founder of Rainbow Light Therapies and is a Holistic Counsellor specialising in stress and anxiety management for kids, teens and adults. Kim provides a unique, intuitive and individualised therapy approach through individual, small group and family counselling sessions both online and at her studio in Langwarrin. Also working with special needs kids, Kim runs sessions and workshops for people of all abilities on various topics throughout the year.