We’ve all experienced the awful feelings of anxiety at some point in our lives, and while it’s no fun for anybody, it can be even worse in kids when they don’t quite know how to cope with it. Luckily, there are plenty of natural ways that your child can relieve their anxiety that don’t involve adding medications.
If you’re an anxious adult, these tips can apply to you, too! From dance parties to deep touch pressure, we’ve got a list of 8 simple ways to ease your child’s anxiety -- most can even be done right now!
Run It Out
While we’re not saying you need to sign your child up for a marathon, partaking in physical activity has been shown to reduce anxiety, in both kids and adults. Kids are born to play, and the increase in technology in recent years has significantly reduced the amount of fun, active playtime that children engage in. Not to mention, using smartphones, tablets, and computers too much can actually contribute more to anxiety.
So, ditching the screens in favor of some good old-fashioned outdoor fun can work wonders to relieve anxiety naturally in your kids (and for parents, too!) Make up a simple obstacle course in the backyard, run a couple of sprints down the driveway, jump on a trampoline, or try your hand at some cartwheels. The more fun you can make it, the better!
Dance It Out
On a related note, having a dance party can be a fun way to get your kid’s heart pumping and release some stress and anxiety. Especially if their anxiety is the jittery kind, blasting their favorite song and dancing together in the living room can be a quick way to ease their anxious feelings. Don’t worry about looking silly, no one’s watching!
Squeeze It Out
Creating an anti-anxiety toolkit of items that your child can turn to in times of worry is a good way to help them cope with their feelings, especially if you’re not around at the time, like at school. Common items include squeeze balls or stress balls, which can physically and emotionally relieve tension.
Toys you can fidget with are becoming more popular, like bendable and twistable bracelets or small fidget balls. All of these objects can help your child to get their mind off of the anxiety; using their hands can reduce their restlessness. Just make sure the size isn’t a choking hazard for your youngster, please!
Talk It Out
Children can definitely benefit from going to therapy or counseling, especially if they seem to have an extra-bad case of anxiety. Also called cognitive behavioral therapy, a licensed practitioner can help your child to learn how to manage and cope with their feelings, which can be a beneficial lifelong tool.
However, therapy generally isn’t a quick fix; results are usually best when you go routinely for at least a few months. If therapy isn’t available to your child, you as a parent can help them talk things through. Asking your child to try and put words to what they’re feeling and what they are anxious about can allow you to better help them. The power of words and talking is truly therapeutic and can even make your relationship with your child stronger.
Once again, putting your hands to work can take your mind off of your worries and lessen anxiety. Art therapy is common for many disorders and can take the form of coloring, painting, or just doodling. Other crafts may help as well, depending on what your child is interested in and how old they are.
If you have an older child, crafts you can try with them are scrapbooking, knitting or crocheting, or jewelry making. For the youngins, put some newspaper on the floor or go outside and get fingerpainting!
To the earth, that is! Grounding, also known as earthing, is both an ancient and modern practice. Our ancestors were always grounding -- they walked barefoot and slept on the earth night after night. Today, we rarely come in direct contact with the natural ground, unless we’re at the beach or barefoot at the park. The benefits of grounding include reduced anxiety and stress and improved sleep.
If you’ve ever spent a day at the beach with your toes in the sand, you probably slept like a baby that night! If you don’t have a beach near you, head to a park and run around barefoot in the grass with your child (don’t forget a quick check for glass or debris!). You’ll both be resting easy afterwards.
It’s never too early to start practicing deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness. Teaching kids these practices young can leave them with benefits for life, as even simple belly breathing can calm down the nervous system quickly.
A good way to teach belly breathing to young ones is to have them lie on their back with a favorite stuffed animal resting on their stomach. Teach them to breathe in slowly and watch the animal rise, then breathe out and watch the animal go back down.
Yoga can also be a great way to teach mindfulness -- there are even yoga classes for babies now! Head to YouTube for a plethora of videos made specifically for your child’s age group.
Put Some Pressure On Them (The Good Kind)
Last but not least, we couldn’t complete an anxiety-reducing list without talking about weighted blankets! The beauty of adding some weight or deep pressure onto the body is that a healthy cocktail of helpful hormones gets produced, which leads to a reduction in stress and anxiety. The main hormones that get boosted are serotonin (our happy hormone) and melatonin (our sleep and relaxation hormone). Cortisol, our stress hormone, also gets reduced in this process as well.
If your child tends to be more anxious at home, a weighted blanket for their bedroom is a great way to help them get to sleep and relax during the day. However, if school time or car rides are more stressful for them, you may want to also get a weighted vest or lap pad to help with those anxious times.
While weighted blankets do act like a hug for the whole body, you can also provide some deep pressure yourself by giving your kiddos extra tight hugs and cuddles for even more anxiety reduction!
8 Simple And Natural Ways To Ease Anxiety In Kids
There are plenty of natural ways that your child can relieve their anxiety that don’t involve adding medications.
There are plenty of natural ways to ease anxiety in children that don’t involve medications; many utilize the body to take the mind off of it, like with dancing, running, active play, or using fidget toys.
Retraining the mind with meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can also help reduce anxiety in both children and adults (they’re never too young to learn mindfulness!)
Weighted blankets add deep touch pressure to their little anxious bodies, which can, in turn, calm down their anxious minds.
Did you know?
Yoga has recently begun being taught in many elementary schools all over the country; benefits of yoga in school include improved focus and concentration, reduced stress, and even improved compassion towards other classmates. Namaste, kiddos!