Kids experience all sorts of moments that cause them stress. Here are 6 tips to help keep kids calm in those stressful situations.
by Troop Atomic Mommy
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For various reasons, kids experience different types of stressful situations. Things like getting a haircut, going to the dentist, or sharing a toy, can all contribute to creating stress within a child. When this happens, often times, parents have a hard time calming their child or coping with the stress of the moment. So here are some tips to help you keep kids calm when stressed.
#1 Help Them Imagine Something Peaceful
Like adults, your kids have great imaginations. You can use this to your advantage when they are stressed out. Similar to guided meditation, you can reduce stress in young children with visualization. By helping them imagine something peaceful, you can reduce anxiety and prevent them from acting out. This is particularly useful for the things that typically frighten young children, like pediatric sedation dentistry or the buzzing of hair clippers. Start by having them imagine their peaceful world, and build up a mental image with all the feelings included.
#2 Count Backwards From 100
Children are generally stressed or anxious when their brain is all over the place. So having something to focus on can help bring them back to a relatively calm state. Counting backward is effective because it makes your kids use both sides of their brains. So it takes all they have, meaning they spend less focus on the negative and more on the task at hand. But because of their familiarity with numbers, counting backward doesn’t overwhelm your kids’ brains too much. You can also use visualization in conjunction with counting for greater concentration.
#3 Teach Breathing Techniques
For younger children, counting backwards may be difficult to do considering they may not even know how to count that high. That’s why having a second method to show your child to decompress is a good idea. Breathing can be that second way. Teach your child to take 10 deep breaths whenever they feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or stressed. This technique also helps children get through their tantrums, as well as the parents.
#4 Keep Kids Calm by Singing
As a parent, you already know how much kids love to sing. And singing along with them can be great fun. But there is much more to singing out loud than just having silly fun together. When you sing, tons of chemical and electrical reactions go off in the brain. Some are related to concentration, such as neurons, and others, creativity and feeling good, like endorphins. Endorphins are similar to serotonin, and make you feel happy, the same as when you are laughing. The sudden release of endorphins and concentration will take your child’s mind off stress.
#5 Lovingly Hug It Out
Every child loves to hug, and parents usually love to hug their kids. Hugging is an essential act for making children feel safe. Not only does it provide an instant means of communication and safety, but many changes in your body happen when embracing someone. For example, a chemical called oxytocin is produced when you hug. Oxytocin makes you feel relaxed, and a prolonged hug of up to 30 seconds lowers blood pressure and cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that makes you feel stressed. So the simple act of hugging can calm your child.
#6 Give Them Something Squishy
You’ve probably heard of Pop Its being used as stress toys. Pop Its are sensory toys that allow children to focus on popping each circle. When playing with something like this, it causes the brain to produce more electrical signals that result in lowered stress. And the same goes for your children. You can buy all kinds of stress toys these days, like Pop Its, stress balls, and stress dolls. These are great for kids. But you can also use Play-Doh. Just give them a blob and let them squish away.
It’s essential to keep your kids calm in certain situations. You can help them with visualization techniques, singing to your children, or giving them something squishy to play with.