By Lori Lite, Founder of Stress Free Kids
Imagine teaching children to harness their own power to create positive, stress free healing reactions. Children are enthusiastically receptive to learning proven techniques of breathing, visualizing, muscle relaxation, and positive affirmative statements to actively participate in managing their own stress and promoting their own healing. Prolonged stress, high pressure, and health challenges can wreak havoc on our children and their families. It is our responsibility to empower children by offering them the tools they need to maintain emotional balance while optimizing their immune systems. Kids can be active participants in creating their own healthy, calm lives.
Here are 5 tips and proven techniques to help children manage stress and facilitate healing:
• Use affirmations or positive statements to counteract stress and promote healing. Teach your children to take a break and say, “I am calm. I am healing. I am peaceful. I am happy. I am strong.” Write positive statements with children so they can carry it in their pocket for the day. Encourage kids to make signs for their room. Put happy healing notes under their pillows. ( Affirmation Weaver is a story that introduces children to positive statements.)
• Create visualizations - imagining can be both fun and effective. Create a happy thought that children can "go to" when stressed or worried. Develop a short story or scene that your child can think of when they are fearful or anxious during procedures. Go for a calming ride on a cloud or float in a bubble. Slide down a rainbow and encourage children to create their own story of healing. Let them write it down or record it and then let them relax mom or dad with their visualization. (A Boy and a Turtle introduces the healing power of visualizing with colors.)
• Practice controlled breathing. Taking slow deep breaths can help lower a child’s anxiety and anger. It is also recommended for pain management. For added impact children can visualize breathing in healing joy filled air. All children can benefit from this important powerful stress and anger management technique. Children can use breathing when they feel over-stimulated or on a verge of a temper tantrum, have them focus on their breathing and soothe themselves. Breathe in 2,3,4 and out 2,3,4. In 2,3,4 and out 2,3,4. Encourage your child to show one of their dolls or stuffed animals this technique. (Kids love to breathe with the sea otters in Sea Otter Cove.)
• Use progressive muscle relaxation to help your child to fall asleep. Relax your child’s mind and body by telling various muscle groups to relax. Start with your child’s feet and work your way up to their head or reverse the order. After a few tries your child will be able to use this technique on their own. “I am going to relax my legs. I will relax my legs. My legs are relaxing. My legs are relaxed.” For a variation, try active progressive muscular relaxation. Tighten muscle groups and relax. “Hold, hold, hold…..Ahhhhh...” (The Goodnight Caterpillar uses passive progressive muscle relaxation so that actual movement of body in not required.)
• Music for healing and relaxation. Exposing children to music is a fun way to let them see how vibrations and sound can change the way they feel, function, and respond. Music can affect the brain, lower blood pressure, alleviate pain, reduce stress, and boost our immune systems. (Indigo Dreams: Kid’s Relaxation Music inspires and relaxes.)
All of the above mentioned techniques are incorporated into our books, CDs and Lesson plans . I invite you to explore my entire site to learn more about how you can introduce your family to stress management.
All of the above-mentioned stories and more are available as downloads:
Indigo Dreams shorter stories with relaxation techniques for younger child.
Indigo Ocean Dreams longer stories with relaxation techniques for older children.
Indigo Teen Dreams guided instructions with relaxation techniques for teens.
Indigo Dreams: Adult Relaxation guided instructions with relaxation techniques for adults.
Indigo Dreams: Garden of Wellness stories for all children includes techniques to release anger and positive statements to encourage healthy eating.
Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook .