Kids can get stressed out just like the rest of us, and we’re not just talking about kids who have developmental delays or other disorders such as ADHD or Autism (where stress and meltdowns are a completely different monster), kids without any of those issues can still get stressed over everyday things. Our job as a parent is to remind them that we are here to help them through it, and while some things may be sad, scary or cause them to get anxious, you will be there for them every step of the way.
How to Soothe Bedtime Worries
Experts say that a relaxing rub such as a massage can help kids that have difficulty falling asleep. This can be especially useful during the start of a new school year when kids have to get back on schedule and (most) have to start getting out of bed earlier than before. Kelly Kasper M.D., who is a board-certified OB-GYN at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis says that her 13-year old was having difficulties with school, he was taking classes that he didn’t like and he was lying in bed mulling over it. To help him destress, Dr. Kasper added a few drops of lavender essential oil, which is known for its ability to induce calm, to coconut oil and rubbed it into his back at night. “The scent of the oil relaxed him, and the massage released the tension he was carrying around.” She explains. “we also used this time to talk about problem-solving strategies he could use. Within minutes, he was asleep.”
To Calm Down “Getting-Ready” Panic
Tanya Altmann M.D. who is also a mother of three, and the author of What to Feed Your Baby, says that taking big breaths can help calm your little one’s nerves. “My 11-year-old is anxious and he’ll often burst into tears when we’re trying to get out the door. He worries he’ll be late for school,” she says. That’s when she tells him to stop and take five big breaths in through his nose and out through his mouth. These deep “belly breaths” slow the heartbeat, lower blood pressure, and calm the mind. “I also reassure him that we’ll be on time. This exercise takes less than a minute, but it gives him something to focus on, which does wonders to help him relax.” This type of breathing exercise is not just beneficial for children. It is a great way for anyone of any age to calm themselves down quickly and easily.
To Ease Too-Much-To-Do Anxiety
Elisa Song, M.D., the founder of HealthyKidsHappyKids.com and the mother of two suggests to use a “worry box”. When her 6-year-old was overwhelmed by her homework, her school play and a conflict with a friend, the worry box was the perfect solution. How it works, “She pictures a pretty box, and when worries pop up, she puts them in the box. Which she can’t look at until her designated “worry time” When she “opens” the box up later, she realizes that most of her worries are gone. Compartmentalizing them means that they no longer have the power they once did.” Says Dr. Song. “Usually only the biggest worry is left, so we can talk about it and come up with a solution. Within minutes, she’s less stressed.”
The Time Out Bottle
Get an old soda bottle or a mason jar and add glitter glue, a small amount of water and some additional loose glitter. Be sure to place the lid on tightly (you may even want to add some super glue to the lid to ensure that it does stay on) and shake it up. It turns into a magical glitter snow globe/bottle that can help to calm down your child’s nerves whether they are upset, having a meltdown or if they have to sit in time out for a while. There are several tutorials available on Pinterest and other places on the web that give exact directions and other tips on how to make these sparkly keepsakes.
Go for a Walk
It has been proven that walking can help to reduce stress levels in people of all ages, and that includes kids. If you don’t have a good place to walk nearby, consider going to the local park or walking around the track at your nearby high school. You can take a walk along with your child and talk about what is bothering them. You may want to consider making it a weekly or daily thing that you do, especially if you have a safe place nearby to walk.