March 30th, 2021Posted By Naomi Weeks

5 Ways to Feel Less Stressed...for Kids

This April is Stress Awareness Month. Here are 5 tips, techniques and activities that can help your child feel less stressed!

It's tempting to think that as adults, we are perpetually more stressed out than our children. With bills to pay, work that needs doing and food that needs to be put on the table, not to mention dealing with the extra stresses of a global pandemic, the pressure we are under/ put ourselves under is often enormous. 

Thankfully, there are lots of ways that we as adults can try to alleviate some of that stress. Reading this, you are probably aware that less screen time, more time spent outdoors, meditation, deep breathing and a myriad of other things help us to destress, and you probably have an awareness of activities that work for you already. 

For children, stress can be a tricky feeling to understand and overcome, especially since kids often don't have the tools to cope. Whether it's school, friendship troubles or something else, our children can often be just as, if not more stressed out than we are. 

So what can we do to help? This April is Stress Awareness Month, which is held annually to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. The official website is full of great resources (including this 30 Day Challenge) but is mainly geared towards an adult audience. We've put together this list of things your child can do to feel less stressed, including tips from Natalie Costa, our resident confidence coach and co-author of our LEVEL HEADERS series!

Try out these tips, techniques and activities together.

1) Bubble breathing

Breathing deeply is proven to reduce stress, but let's be honest, 'breathe deeply and slowly' doesn't sound like the most fun if you're below the age of ten and having a tough day!  Instead, you can make it fun AND stress-relieving, by employing the help of good old-fashioned bubble mix. 

You'll need: 
  • Some bubble mix, or
  • 1 cup 
  • Water
  • Equal parts sugar and washing up liquid
  • A straw, or homemade bubble wand

Mix the water, sugar and washing up liquid together. Blow bubbles directly into the cup with the straw – or dip your bubble wand in (you might have an old one, or maybe you can make one from something around your house!) Breathe deeply in through your nose, purse your lips and try to blow the BIGGEST bubble you can! Repeat until the mix runs out. 

Source: Girls Friendly Society

2) 54321 Grounding

This technique is a simple way to not let racing thoughts get ahead of us when we're stressed, and helps to keep us in the present. 

Start by taking some deep belly breaths - in through the nose, into your belly and out through your mouth. 

5 - LOOK: Look around for 5 things that you can see, and say them out loud. 

4 - FEEL: Pay attention to your body and think of 4 things that you can feel, and say them out loud. For example, you could say, I feel my feet warm in my socks.

3 - LISTEN: Listen for 3 sounds. It could be the sound of bird song, the sound of rain, even the sound of your tummy rumbling! Say the three things out loud.

2 - SMELL: Say two things you can smell. If you can't smell anything where you are, move to another spot and sniff something. If you can’t smell anything at the moment or you can’t move, then name your 2 favourite smells.

1 - TASTE: Say one thing you can taste. It may be the toothpaste from brushing your teeth, your lunch, or just how the inside of your mouth tastes.

Take another deep belly breath to end.

If you're worried you'll forget the order, this blog has a free poster you can download, print off and put up as a reminder. 

3) Dealing with worries

Being worried about something can be a cause of stress. confidence coach and Power Thoughts founder Natalie Costa has a great tip for when we feel worried about something!

Natalie says: 

'Notice the worry thought and get curious about it. Give it a name and create it into a character. Your worry is just a thought, it’s not YOU, just a thought. If there are many worries write them down to get them out of your head. This helps you to look at them in a different way, and you can start to come up with a plan to help you with the worries. Sometimes we also realize that some worries aren’t even that big. And then pick one action that you can take to help with a worry. '

What would your worry's name be? What colour does it make you think of? 

You can find more advice from Natalie here, or on her website

4) Distract yourself

Tasks that require a bit of brain power, like counting backwards by threes, doing sudoku or a jigsaw puzzle, are the perfect combination of distraction and focus. Focusing on something other than whatever you're stressing about helps to calm us down. Sometimes, the worry or stress will seem much less serious. 

Head to Mind for some free games and puzzles, or put your brain to the test with mazes, pattern sequences, maths problems, join the dots, word searches, matching games, quizzes, spot the difference and more with our BRAIN BOOSTERS series (out in May). 

5) Talk it out 

Sometimes, talking about what's stressing or worrying us can be really scary.  But it's so important to talk to people who love us when we feel this way - whether it be a friend, teacher or member of your family. 

Just talking it out can often make stress seem more manageable, and you might be able to find solutions together. 

Together, you can come up with a few solutions like cutting back on after-school activities, spending more time talking with parents or teachers, developing an exercise regimen, or keeping a journal.

For more advice on helping your child talk about stress, go here

REMEMBER: If you need help, you can call the following helplines: 

Young Minds Parents helpline
NSPCC helpline
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