Monday, July 16, 2012

Kids Get Stressed Too: Ways to "Chillax"

 by John and Diane.

Even though we, as parents may be SUPER excited (can you tell I am excited?) about the kids going back to school soon, your kids may be feeling some anxiety and stress.

Especially tough for special education students, or new foster kids who may be starting in a new school or have social anxiety disorders or other issues, getting ready for school, or handling the prep for it, can cause stress.

Whether its Back-to-School stress, or just every-day stress from counseling and doctors appointments, or any number of issues that foster/adoptive kids and parents go through, finding ways to ratchet down the stress and anxiety levels and relax is vital and a skill that can help a child throughout his or her life.

Although teaching ADD, RAD or kids with defiance disorders relaxation techniques may take some time, teaching by example, and going through the techniques (or one particular technique that works for you and your kids) together on a routine basis is key to creating a habit that may help your kids get through a stressful situation at school or at play. So, pick a technique you can work with and then practice it each day, say, while you wait for the school bus, to get everyone in the right frame of mind to be relaxed and start the day off right.

Below is an article shared with us by the author and one of our readers that lists 10 relaxation techniques.  There are some great ideas here that I have used with my kids over the years.  Check them out.

10 Relaxation Techniques for Kids

Posted on | in Babysitting Jobs While it may seem unnatural for children to experience stress, many children actually do have high levels of stress.  Children are worried about doing well in school, winning sports games, pleasing their parents and fitting in with their friends.  As most adults know, living up to others expectations can be very stressful.

If you find your child is experiencing stress, here are some relaxation techniques that you can try with him.
  1. Deep breathing.  The convenient thing about this technique is that it can be done at anytime, anywhere.  Have your child close his eyes and take a deep breath in through his nose and fill his tummy with air.  Do this step slowly and then blow the air out of his mouth all at once.  Sometimes having him think about breathing in the good and blowing out the bad will also help to relax him. 
  2. Visualization.  Visualization can provide a vacation from the mind. The first couple of times you can help your child do this technique, and then after some practice she should be able to do it herself.  Have her sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close her eyes.  Ask her to picture herself in her favorite vacation spot.  Is it on a boat or at the beach?  Wherever it is help her intensify her visualization by asking her if she can feel the wind on her skin or the spray of the waves hitting her face.  Then move on to her sense of smell and ask her if she can smell the sea water or the flowers nearby.  Move on to her sense of hearing and ask her to listen for the sea gulls or the laughter of other children.  Once you’ve made it through all of the senses let her stay in that visualization for a few minutes as she releases stress.    
  3. Exercising.  The freedom of running causes your body to release endorphins that flood your brain and make you feel better.  Sometimes exercise can help clear his mind and reduce his stress levels.  Making a habit of regularly exercising will help him learn to cope better with stress. 
  4. Listening to calming music.  Music can be naturally relaxing. The human body is an amazing thing, and often our moods will adapt to the type of music we’re listening to.  If she listens to loud angry music she may begin to feel angry and stressed. If she listens to soft calming music it will lower her heart rate and drop her blood pressure.  These things will help relax her overall and can even be used to help her fall asleep at night.  If she’s using music as a sleep aid try to avoid music with lyrics or use the same one over and over so that she doesn’t listen to the words.   
  5. Laughter. Laughter is one of the biggest stress relievers for both adults and kids alike.  Read a joke book with him or take him to a really funny movie.  Watch a comedy on TV.  Tickle him.  Anything to get him to laugh.  The longer he laughs the more tension he will release.
  6. Meditation or prayer. Meditation or prayer is very relaxingBy removing herself from distractions and sitting or lying in a comfortable spot she can begin to meditate or pray.  Meditation requires that she closes her eyes, clears her mind, and focuses on her breathing.  Prayer can be done with her eyes closed, and as she is talking to God she can unload her burdens.  Either method she chooses will have a relaxing effect on her.
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