Family Stress Relief Activities
You have likely arrived at this article because you are looking for stress relief activities for kids and parents. Then I’ve got you covered!
Stick around till the end of this post, because I will be sharing useful tips about stress relief activities for kids and parents. You will learn some soothing activities that will help the whole family manage daily stress.
It can be difficult to regulate our emotional responses, especially during times of stress. Most children self-regulate naturally, but they may also need to learn other ways to respond when they experience stress.
So today, I am going to give you some helpful tips for calming strategies and stress relief activities for kids and parents. Let’s get started!
Stress Relief Activities for Kids and Parents
Stress can be very paralyzing for both children and adults and it is for this reason that it is essential to learn techniques to relieve stress.
Stress relief activities for kids and parents should be practice every day, not only should it be used in times of crisis, but with its daily use.
It will be possible to establish calm habits that help children and parents to establish a more continuous state of calm.
In this way, you will avoid always being in ‘survival mode’ which is what stress causes all the time.
Want to learn more? Keep reading for more helpful tips!
Breathing exercises can help your child remember to pause and take deep breaths at times of difficulty.
You can also use illustrations that act as a non-verbal reminder by posting them in a quiet corner of the room or in a place where the exercise is most likely to be practiced.
Here’s a YouTube video I handpicked to get you started with breathing exercises with your kids.
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Here are some examples of breathing exercises:
For young children, bubbles are a great way to take breathing into relaxation. It even works great for older children.
Actually, both kids and adults like to bubble every once in a while, and it really is relaxing for everyone.
To blow the best bubbles and also serve as breathing and relaxation, it will be necessary to take a deep breath.
Breathing can be slowed down to create larger bubbles.
This Little kid Fubbles No-Spill Bubble Tumbler, is such a fun stress relief activity for kids and parents.
2- Games with cotton balls
Give each child a cotton ball and a straw. Have the children move the cotton balls from one side of the table to the other by inhaling through the straw.
Again, remind children to control their breathing and to do it slowly for the best results.
3– Blow out birthday candles
Ask your child to raise a hand and explain that their fingers represent the “candles”. Count the five “candles” together.
Then blow out each candle by blowing a long time. Slowly lower each finger as you blow.
4– Inflating Balloons
Pretend you take a balloon out of your pocket and encourage your child to do the same.
Take a deep breath and then, when you breathe out, gently extend your hands as if you are inflating a balloon.
When you are finished, take a deep breath and then put your hands together, closing them when you breathe out to “deflate the balloon”. Do it five times.
Never underestimate the power of touch and hugging.
Wrap your children in big hugs and breathe together, the warm and loving hug is the best stress relief activities for kids and parents. It’s a great remedy to calm nerves and tension.
Embrace you as a family, give your love, and never underestimate the strength of your love through a hug.
Here are a few Health Benefits of Cuddling (and Touch) for Parent and Child by Robert Giesler, BSN, RN of chla.org.
- Encouraging calmness and relaxation
- Improving muscle tone and circulation
- Improving pulmonary and immune functions
- Lowering anxiety and stress
- Reducing discomfort from teething, congestion, colic, and emotional stress
The following physical stress relief activities for kids and parents will have to use the body to provide a feeling of calm that can be felt immediately.
Muscle contraction and relaxation is a great way to release tension and relieve stress.
4 – Sticky hands
Pretend your hands are “sticky” and put your hands together. Now press hard for 20 seconds.
You can count on your child. Tell your child to gently separate their hands and see if they can feel their grip. Repeat this sequence two or three times.
5 – Stretching
Have your child perform simple stretches such as touching their toes and touching the air while tiptoeing.
Have your child lie on his back and make letters with his body. Try the letter “X” (extend the legs and arms) then “T” (bring the legs together while extending the arms).
Be creative and make your own! Remember to move gently from one stretch to the next.
6 – Contract and relax
Ask your child to make fists and to lift his shoulders up to his ears. Count with your child up to five then release.
Do it five times. Try using accessories such as the “stress relief ball” to help expand the movement.
This Stress Relief and Anti-Anxiety Tools Bundle for Kids and Adults are available on Amazon.
7 – Yoga
There are many books and websites offering yoga positions for children. Illustrations and examples will help your child take different positions.
One of my favorites is the Yoga Bug: Simple Poses for Little Ones
This delightfully illustrated board book brings the fun and benefits of authentic yoga practice to infants and toddlers.
8– The leaf
Sit with your spine straight, soles against each other, hands-on ankles.
Gently round the spine and then return to the upright position. Do it several times.
9 – The flower
Sit with your spine straight, the soles of the feet against each other, hands on the ankles. Gently lower the knees to the ground and then raise them 10 to 20 times.
10 – Starfish
Lie on your back, arms and legs extended in a comfortable position. Raise one arm at a time to the ceiling and then lower it.
Then lift one leg at a time toward the ceiling. Later, try to lift an arm and leg on the opposite side at the same time.
Sensory stress relief activities for kids
Sensory play has soothing effects since it allows your child to focus on one sense (often touch) and “repress” others.
Here are some ideas:
11 – The Sensation Box
Gather various materials to touch like felt, leather, smooth stone, feather, fur, etc.
12 – The listening center
Have soothing music available with headphones or soft enough instruments like a rain stick.
13 – The visual center
Create a dimly lit corner or space and use phosphorescent stickers and light toys.
Imagination and Creativity Stress Relief Activities for Kids and Parents
Imagination and creativity can help your child to better understand stressful situations and to practice finding solutions.
14- Guided imagination
Guided imagination is a powerful stress relief activities for kids and parents and for all ages.
You can close your eyes as a family and use your imagination to go to a beautiful island and far away. Adults often use images to escape stress for a few minutes.
The goal is to imagine a happy place and so when you return to ‘reality’ you will be less stressed and your anxiety will have decreased.
Teach your children to take this type of relaxation break when things get tough.
To achieve this exercise it is best to get the child to sit comfortably and close their eyes.
Ask the child to imagine a beautiful place, where he feels happy and calm.
Tell him to describe the place, tell you the colors he sees, what objects are there, what is in front of him or her, and also describe the smells.
Guided imagination practice helps children learn how to use this strategy on their own at later times.
15 – Personal stories
Personal stories describe a social situation and show how to manage it.
These teaching tools are effective since they can be personalized and thus adapt to a child or a particular group.
16 – Storybooks
Storybooks that describe social situations can be used to encourage conversation, understanding of emotions, and empathy.
It’s a great way for your child to identify with characters in stressful situations and understand how the characters in the story cope.
The stories can be selected as-is or adapted to meet the needs of your child to match their level of development.
Here are a few stress relief storybook for your kids:
- A Little SPOT of Anxiety: A Story About Calming Your Worries by Diane Alber
- A Little SPOT of Emotion Box Set (8 Books) by Diane Albe
- What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Dawn Huebner
17 – Roleplaying
Role-playing gives children an opportunity to analyze a situation, concept, or social skill in a fun way, and to find several ways to manage stressful situations.
The experience can be enriched through the use of puppets, costumes, and toys.
These Melissa & Doug Farm Friends Hand Puppets are perfect for this roleplaying stress relief activities for kids and parents.
18 – Problem Solving / Brainstorming
Talking about problems or concerns can be an opportunity for your child to express his ideas, ask questions, and find possible solutions in an environment safe.
The process usually begins with a question, problem, or theme. Children are then encouraged to take part in the free flow of ideas.
Ideas can be written or drawn.
This is a great way for your child to build positive relationships with his peers.
The role of the parent during this process is to create a warm and supportive environment but also to emphasize the importance of listening.
Positive Self-Talk Stress Relief Activities for Kids and Parents
Positive self-talk can help your child develop self-esteem, and therefore it can improve their ability to cope with anxiety.
Here are some examples of activities designed to encourage your child to practice positive self-talk
19 – The Flower “I Can Do It”
Start by distributing paper flower petals to your child. In the center of the circle, place the heart of the flower with the writing “I am capable” inside.
Ask your child to say something they can do, then ask them to write it on a petal and then add it to the flower.
The game can easily adapt to a wide variety of children by asking them to choose from a few photos, offering them a few examples or a few choices.
To diversify this game, try to use different themes like playing “I am capable” at home, “I am capable” with my friends.
20 – The “I am capable” project
Give your child a personal box and help him identify a goal he would like to achieve.
Skills with a higher level of difficulty can be broken down into smaller and easier steps.
As the child goes through the steps, reward his success by writing it down on a small piece of paper.
Then the child places the paper in his box.
Start with a step that is suitable and achievable from your child’s level of development.
For example, the child applies to cut with scissors. At each stage of learning a task, write down his success, for example:
“I am able to cut along the line” and then help him put the paper in his box. When the child says “I can’t do it”,
Few Things to Consider When Setting Up a Stress Relief Activities for Kids and Parents
Here are the few things to consider when setting up a soothing routine at home:
1- Take a record of the soothing strategies already practiced by your child and choose the ones you want to reinforce.
Start with the strategies that your child knows and that are adapted to his level of development.
This can help leverage existing resources and increase the possibility of success.
Later, once your child has become familiar with the practice of these strategies, you can add new ones.
2- Choose the most appropriate times for your child to practice these activities.
It is preferable to put in place calming strategies during the least stressful moments.
3- Try to make the activities fun
By including props and illustrations such as pillows, relaxation balls, and pictures.
Final Thoughts About Stress Relief Activities for Kids and Parents
I’ve told you everything you need to know about stress relief activities for kids and parents.
Now it’s time for you to choose the stress relief activities that suits for you and for your kids.
Don’t spend too much time thinking about the perfect stress relief activities for you and for your kids. Just go ahead with one you think is best and practice it regularly.
Stress Relief Activities for Kids and Parents Related Post:
- How to Be a Calm Mom (6 Effective Tips)
- 11 Best Phrases To Calm an Angry Child
- 8 Positive Phrases to Say to Your Children When They Misbehave
- 6 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress at Home
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