Stress-busters for children

Stress relieving activities can really help when kids get grumpy. Try these ideas to calm your day.

All children get tired and grumpy sometimes, and stress-relieving activities can really help. Here are some stress-buster ideas:

  • Get the basics right and minimise stress – children need a regular routine, plenty of sleep and a wholesome diet.
  • Make non-disciplinary, casual conversation a habit. In this time, your child can express her thoughts and feelings about any and all subjects. If you’re open to talking about the little things, she’ll come to you when something is bothering her.
  • Help children think of something relaxing to do instead of heading straight for the sofa and the TV when they’re stressed or tired. Fresh air often helps, so get outside. Have tea on a rug on the lawn, pick some flowers or shoot some hoops together.
  • Encourage creative activities like drawing, painting, drawing, or music that are calming and allow children to express their feelings.
  • Sensory activities like playing with sand, water or clay are calming. Let your uptight child squeeze and pound play dough (instead of her brother!).
  • Get into a family exercise programme. A brisk walk or cycle around the neighbourhood in the late afternoon will work up a sweat and give you some good family time.
  • Teach your children to breathe deeply. Sit or lie and breathe through the nose for a count of five. The tummy will rise. Exhale through the nose for a count of five and watch the tummy flatten. Think about yoga or visualisation for children.
  • Playing with a beloved pet or just watching fish swim in their pond can help children calm down.
  • Get older children to start a journal, in which they can safely and privately vent their feelings.
  • Physical touch can be de-stressing. A good hug is a good start, but how about giving your child a hand or foot massage?
  • Don’t over-schedule children. They need down-time.
  • Don’t rush in to solve her problems. Listen and encourage her to come up with solutions or a plan of action. It’s empowering and a longer-term stress buster.
  • Bring more laughter into your home, with funny books and movies, board games, nonsense poems and tickle-fests.
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