Kids today feel more stressed than ever before. Recent studies have found that kids are five-to-eight times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety than kids were during the Great Depression. Researchers attribute this to a lack of downtime, but your kids might experience stress for several reasons. It’s important to find the root of your child’s stress and then to give them the tools to manage their stress. These activities will help kids manage anxiety and stress.
Why Are My Kids Stressed?
Kids can become stressed for many reasons, and it can manifest in different ways. The best way to manage anxiety and stress is to reduce the triggers. A few simple sources of your child’s stress might include the following:
- They are overscheduled.
- They sense conflict at home.
- Schoolwork overwhelms them.
- The news sends them stressful messages.
- They have difficulty sleeping.
- Another child bullies them.
Your pediatrician may have more information to help with your child’s specific situation. You will also want to talk to your child to help them find their sources of stress. Remember, though, that everyone becomes stressed occasionally. For life’s stressful moments, these activities will help you and your child to relax.
7 Activities to Help Kids Manage Anxiety and Stress
You can teach your kids how to enjoy these activities, or you can do them with your child! Ask your kids which activities they’d prefer and if they’d like for you to join them.
Solve and make word puzzles.
Psychologists suggest introducing an activity that requires focus and attention to redirect anxiety in a productive way. Solving word puzzles, or better yet, making them with a crossword puzzle maker or a word search maker, will redirect your child’s anxiety to a fun and educational activity.
Meditate and practice yoga.
It’s never too early (or too late) to begin a mindfulness and meditation practice. There are even meditation and yoga classes out there specifically designed for kids. Applications like Headspace will get your entire family meditating on a regular basis.
Have a dance party.
Physical activity and music both help reduce stress. Why not combine them into one stress-buster? Find a great playlist, or make your own with YouTube or Spotify. Then, whenever your child feels tightly-wound, put on the speakers, clear the floor, and move to the music!
Not only will journaling help kids express their feelings, it will develop their writing skills. Encourage a little extra fun and creativity by giving them supplies to decorate the cover. Plus, a journal can serve as a cherished keepsake to look back on their memories years later.
There are endless benefits to gardening for kids: it gets kids outdoors, teaches them life science, encourages healthy eating, and more. Whether your garden consists of a window planter or an entire backyard, help your child manage their stress by planting a few vegetable seeds or some beds of flowers.
Visit a petting zoo.
A petting zoo will get you and your kids out of the house, and it will give everyone the opportunity to interact with adorable animals. Studies show that regular interaction with cute creatures reduces anxiety and stress by increasing oxytocin.
Whether your family signs up for a one-time volunteer opportunity or volunteers regularly, volunteering is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Giving back allows kids to practice gratitude, show compassion, and learn more about an activity they’re interested in. Find good volunteer opportunities for kids through sites like Volunteer Match.
When you help kids manage anxiety and stress now, you’ll help them handle their emotions for a lifetime. Even if your child does not experience a large amount of stress, you may want to introduce these activities so they are equipped with the tools in the future.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.