Everyone experiences anxiety in different ways, and children are no exception. If your child is struggling to calm down, here are 10 helpful tips to get them started. From deep breathing exercises to playing with a stress ball, these techniques can make all the difference for kids looking to de-stress. Try out a few of them and see which ones work best for your child!
Help them identify what is making them anxious.
If your child can identify what is making them anxious, they will be able to work on addressing that issue. Maybe there is a specific situation at school that is causing them stress, or perhaps they are worried about an upcoming event. Once they know what it is, they can start to work on a plan to calm themselves down.
Once your child identifies what makes them anxious, they will be better equipped to deal with it. When kids understand their own emotions, they can begin to manage them more effectively. Try asking your child questions like, “What is making you anxious right now?” or “Can you tell me more about what is going on for you?”
Often, kids don’t know why they’re feeling anxious or stressed. Ask your child to pay attention to their feelings before, during, and after events or activities. This can help them understand their triggers and start to figure out how to avoid or cope with them. Sometimes, just talking about anxiety can help lessen its power.
Teach them deep breathing exercises.
Deep breathing exercises are a great way to calm down quickly. They help to oxygenate the body and clear the mind. Show your child how to take deep belly breaths and have them practice with you. Once they get the hang of it, they can do it independently when they start to feel anxious.
Deep breathing exercises are a great way to calm down and de-stress. They can be done anywhere, at any time, and require no special equipment. A few deep breaths can help your child relax and feel more in control.
There are many different ways to do deep breathing exercises. One simple way is to have your child breathe in through their nose for a count of four, then breathe out through their mouth for a count of four. Repeat this several times until your child feels calmer.
Encourage them to use affirmations.
Affirmations are positive statements that can help to reframe the way we think about ourselves and our situation. When kids repeat affirmations, they teach their brains to focus on the good. Affirmations can be a great way for older kids to combat self-doubt and negative thoughts. Affirmations are positive statements that can help to change the way we think and feel about ourselves. When kids use affirmations, they can begin to feel more positive and confident. Affirmations can be a great way to help kids calm down and reduce anxiety.
Some examples of affirmations for kids are:
- I am strong.
- I am smart.
- I am safe.
- I am loved.
Encourage them to talk about their feelings.
Talking about our feelings can be very helpful in managing anxiety. It can help us understand our emotions and feel more in control. When kids talk about their feelings, they can begin to process what they’re experiencing and find ways to cope.
If your child is feeling anxious, encourage them to talk about it. This can be a great way to help them understand their emotions and to feel more in control. Often, talking about what they’re feeling can help kids to calm down.
Some helpful questions to ask your child include:
- What are you feeling?
- What is causing these feelings?
- What can we do to help you feel better?
Help them find a calming activity.
For some kids, engaging in a calming activity can be very helpful in reducing anxiety. This could be something as simple as coloring, drawing, or playing with a stress ball. If your child is struggling to calm down, try offering them a few different options and see what works best for them.
Some kids find that coloring or drawing is very calming. If your child is one of those kids, try providing them with some coloring books or art supplies. Another option is to give your child a stress ball to play with. This can help them to release some of their energy and tension.
Calming activities can vary from child to child. It’s important to find an activity that works for your child and that they enjoy. Not all kids will enjoy the same things, so it’s important to be open to trying new things.
Model healthy coping mechanisms.
As parents, we are our children’s biggest role models. When kids see us healthily managing our stress, they are more likely to do the same. Show your child how you calm down and cope with stress, and offer them guidance on how to do the same.
Listening to calming music, spending time in nature, and writing in a journal are all great ways to manage stress. Find what works for you and show your child how to do the same.
Kids need to see that adults also cope with stress in healthy ways. When kids see that their parents have healthy coping mechanisms, they are more likely to adopt those same strategies themselves.
Make sure they get enough sleep.
A lack of sleep can often make anxiety worse. When kids are well-rested, they can better manage stress and cope with difficult emotions. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep each night and help them to establish a regular bedtime routine.
Hug them or hold their hand.
Physical contact is often very comforting for kids. They need to know that you’re there for them and care. Sometimes, all it takes is a hug or a gentle squeeze of the hand to let them know that you’re there for them.
A hug or a hand to hold can be a very simple way to help kids calm down. When we feel anxious, it can help to know that we are not alone. Physical touch can be a comforting and reassuring way to show your child that you are there for them.
Don’t hesitate to hug your child or hold their hand when they are feeling anxious because it can help them feel calmer and more supported.
Avoid letting them use electronics.
In today’s world, it’s easy for kids to be glued to their screens. But if your child is feeling anxious, it’s important to limit their screen time. They can be very stimulating and can often make anxiety worse.
When kids use electronics, they are often not paying attention to their surroundings, and they can’t focus on anything else. This can make it difficult for them to calm down and relax.
Sometimes kids use electronics as a way to avoid dealing with their emotions. When they’re playing a video game or watching TV, they aren’t thinking about anything else. While this can be a temporary distraction, it’s not a healthy way to deal with anxiety in the long term.
In addition, electronics can overstimulate the brain, making it difficult to calm down. Try to limit your child’s screen time and encourage them to do calming activities like reading, coloring, or spending time in nature. You will likely see a difference in their anxiety levels.
Encourage them to get moving.
Physical activity is a great way to manage stress and anxiety. When kids are active, it helps them release pent-up energy and feel more in control.
Exercise can help to release tension and stress, and it can also boost moods. Encourage your child to go for a walk, ride their bike, or even jump around the house. Exercise releases endorphins, which can help to improve mood and alleviate stress.
Playing on a team can help kids feel more connected and supported, and it can also teach them how to handle stress healthily. Let your child know that it’s okay to be competitive and that it’s also okay to lose sometimes.
It’s important to teach kids how to cope with stress healthily. As parents, we can model healthy coping mechanisms, make sure they get enough sleep, and hug them or hold their hand when they need it. We can also encourage them to get moving and play on a team. Teaching kids how to cope with stress early on will set them up for success in the future.
We hope these tips help teach your child how to cope with stress. If you have any additional tips, please share them in the comments below.
Joanna Perez is a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner, a passionate blogger, writer, traveler, wife, and mother of one boy. Joanna loves to share her thoughts on parenting, health, wellness, and lifestyle.
She is a Certified Women Empowerment Life Coach and has done courses on Life Mastery, Happiness, Health, and Success. She also has studied Neuroscience for Parents and took the Skilled Helper Training Course.
She believes in helping people become the best version of themselves and strives to provide quality informative and inspiring content. She loves animals, especially her two cats, and can often be found taking photos of them as they pose for the camera.