Three Anxiety Relief Techniques To Use With Children

Scaredies AwayAlthough many adults think their children should be worry-free, this is not always true. Kids can have their own things to worry about such as school projects, bullying, making new friends, moving to new house or coping with the divorce of their parents. The simple process of growing up brings transformations children need to embrace.

All these can raise the anxiety level in kids, therefore adults need to be prepared and find ways to help children manage their anxiety. In more severe cases, parents should consult a doctor or a therapist to get a proper diagnosis and medical treatment for their children. These being said, Scaredies Away and the following three techniques can be use with your children to help them overcome their anxiety.

1. Bubble Blowing

By teaching children how to blow bubbles, you are in fact teaching them deep breathing skills. Deep breaths help activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for controlling the body while in a resting state, therefore its stimulation will help the child calm down and let go of his/her anxiety. The activation of the parasympathetic nervous system will trigger the inactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the fight or flight response of the body in front of various challenges or threats.

When teaching your children how to blow bubbles, show them how to focus on their breathe for creating a big bubble. Tell them how this exercise impacts their body, how it helps it to relax and forget the worries and the nervousness. After a while, kids will be able to do this breathing exercise without blowing any bubbles.

2. The Worry Jar

The materialization of worries and concerns helps dismantling them. You can teach your kids to write down their worries on small pieces of paper and put them in a jar with a lid. This symbolizes the fact that they express their worries and keep them bottled up inside the jar. If they are inside the worry jar, it means they can't escape to bother them anymore. You can customize this activity to fit your specific situation. For instance, if your child has a lot of fears, you can name the jar "Fears" or "Scary Things" or whatever else your kid would see as the most appropriate. You need to let the child define the jar, so that it corresponds to those things that give him the anxiety.

You can obtain the same benefits if you teach your kid to write all these worries in a journal instead of putting them in the jar. Journaling is an excellent way of alleviating anxiety and reducing stress levels, therefore you should encourage your kid to do it. If kids want, it would be a good idea to discuss about these worries together after they write them.

(This activity is an adaptation after Hall, Kaduson, and Shafer, 2002)

3. Calm-Down Box

We all have things that help us release the pressure and feel better. By helping children become aware of things that cause them to become anxious and things that help them relax, we can give them a very useful tool for controlling their emotions effectively. The more control a child is capable of, the less influenced he will be by aggressive elements in his environment.
This is a good exercise to prepare kids for life, for coping with things that don't usually go as planned or with events that may turn their life upside-down in a split second.

The calm-down box is just a regular box in which the child is invited to put all items that help him calm down and relax. These items can be anything: stress balls, lavender-scented play-dough, wonder tubes, CDs with relaxation music, pencils, drawings or books about stress or anxiety relief.

By doing this activity, the child will learn which things that help him release the pressure and stay calm, therefore he will remember to make use of them the next time he gets anxious about things that put too much pressure on his shoulders.

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