Family, Health And Wellness

7 Stress Management Tips For Anxious Kids

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Stress Management Tips For Anxious Kids To Stop Anxiety And Manage Their Mental Health

The effects of stress on children can present themselves in various ways. 

We’ve all been there. You are in line at the grocery store and your child sees something they must have ... as in, right now! Whatever it is, doesn’t matter. Your child is making a scene and you are feeling embarrassed.

You tell your child to calm down, but they don’t listen. People are starting to look and you feel like the worst parent around.

You aren't alone. All parents have gone through this. So, you wonder, where did this come from? Why is my child being so emotional right now? 

RELATED: 5 Ways To Help Your Kid De-Stress When Everything Becomes Too Much

This is one of the symptoms of stress and it’s important that you understand where your child is, developmentally. Regardless, of where they are, don’t underestimate the importance of knowing how to deal with anxiety and reducing stress in your child. 

(By the way, it’s also alright to say "no" to your child.) 

As a parent, the best thing you can do is remain calm in an incident like this. Remember to breathe because this too shall pass.

Children have a range of feelings and that is alright.

What’s important is that you help them understand their feelings and teach them how to deal with stress, which will later help them as adults.

When you don’t know how to manage stress and express your feelings, you tend to stay stuck and you don't want that for your child.

To deal with anxiety in children, here are 7 stress management techniques for kids.

1. Make time to relax

Are you always on the go? If you answered "yes", then you are like most Americans. It’s important to slow down.

This will not only help your child with learning how to deal with stress, but it will help you.

You don’t have to get everything done today. There is always tomorrow. Stop trying to be superwoman and slow down.

This is a great time to practice deep breathing with your child. Even if they fidget around, stick with it. Work up to 10 minutes a day when you're dealing with the effects of stress.

2. Use positive affirmations with your child

This can help counteract stress and anxiety. Have your child write a positive affirmation on a note card. They can look at it during the day when they are feeling stressed.

It can be simple like, "I am relaxed" or "I am at peace." Make sure you practice this coping mechanism yourself. It will rub off on your child and set a good example.

3. Stop overbooking your child

I see this all the time in my practice. A parent will call and say that their child is showing signs of stress and dealing with anxiety.

After I meet with the child, I find out they are overbooked.

Your child doesn't have to play every sport or play multiple instruments. It’s alright if they don’t get straight A’s.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that these things aren't important. Just don’t overdo it.

Some ways to reduce stress in your child includes making sure that you've also scheduled time for fun and relaxation because they are just as important.

4. Get moving

Just as you need exercise, so does your child. This can simply be walking. Children love to play.

When you notice signs of anxiety in your child, exercise can be great for anxiety management. 

Take them to the park if you don’t have a backyard they can run around in. Make sure they have a P.E. class at school. When they get home from school, they can go for a bike ride or for a swim.

Don’t let them get in front of the screen when they first get home. After a while, exercise will become a habit. Stress reduction with exercise will also be fun.

5. Take time to laugh together

It’s important that you are having fun with your child. This can simply mean laughing together. You can watch a funny movie or cartoon together. Ask your child if they know any jokes.

You might be surprised by the answer. Life doesn't’ have to be that difficult. Make sure you set aside time for fun.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Rescue Your Kids From A Stressed Out Childhood

6. Use prayer and meditation

This is a great way to reduce stress. Your child can do this alone or you can do this together.

Meditation is simply setting aside time to do nothing. If you’d like you can focus on a positive affirmation during this time. There are also many guided meditations for kids that you can use.

Prayer is also important. Make sure to state what you are thankful for and ask for what you need.

This is also a great time to pray for others.

7. Eat nutrient-rich foods

Don’t let your child get loaded up on sugar and carbs because they can be one of the causes of stress and anxiety in children.

They can have trouble focusing and later on, crash.

Make sure to pay close attention to what ingredients are in the foods you are giving them. A cereal bar may be easier in the morning, but how much sugar is in it? Substitute some almond butter with a banana.

Also, make sure your child is having enough water. You don’t want your child to get dehydrated. Give them a water bottle to take to school.

Unfortunately, we are hearing more and more about stress in children.

Recess and lunch have been cut back, which means there is less time for play and running around. It’s also getting more and more competitive and they are measured by a test score. This can lead to chronic stress after a while.

Make sure to compliment your child and recognize when they are doing their best. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game. When you do this, your child will never measure up.​

If you want to know how to relieve stress for your kids, start with making them feel good about themselves. 

RELATED: How To Tell If Your Kid Actually Has Anxiety (Or Is Just Stressed)

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping families in San Mateo, CA who are looking to have an emotional connection with their children. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on Lessons for Love to learn more about her services and expertise.

This article was originally published at Lessons For Love. Reprinted with permission from the author.