Back to school can be a time of anxiety for both, kids and parents. So here are a few kid-friendly ways to de-stress together.
There’s no way around it: children in 2021 have had many reasons to be anxious. And back to school can be a particularly tough time for some kids. But, unfortunately, if you’re a parent to a sensitive child who experiences a lot of fear and nervousness around transitions, it can be hard to know how to help.
But the good news is that you can do a lot! Practising calming mindfulness techniques together sets your child up with life-long coping skills and can dial down the anxiety levels today.
Perhaps you have your own mindfulness practice. You meditate, do yoga. You understand the benefits. But how can you make these practices more accessible to kids? Here are three simple activities/exercises you can do with your children, at home or anywhere, to help them ground down and connect with themselves:
1. Flower and Candle
“Flower and candle” is an effective exercise for encouraging deep mindful breaths. With your child, pretend that you’re both holding a candle in one hand and a flower in the other. Smell the flower and then blow softly and slowly to extinguish the candle flame. Imagine that the flame reappears. Repeat the exercise.
2. Lazy Cat
Pretend you are both lazy, sleepy cats waking up from a nap. Yawn deeply, meow loudly and stretch out your legs, arms and back. This exercise can release muscular tension and help the two of you to practice body awareness.
3. The Turtle Walk
This is another simple exercise for releasing muscular tension. Pretend that you are two turtles going for a slow, pleasant walk together. Suddenly, it starts to rain, so you curl up tightly in your shells for about ten seconds. Then, imagine the sun is out again and you can resume your walk. Repeat this sequence a few times. You’ll both feel a lot more relaxed and present.
Spending time with kids is cathartic and therapeutic — not just for them, but for you too. These little pockets of alone time with them are excellent opportunities to teach mindfulness, grounding and calming techniques. Simple and fun activities like the ones listed above can be done at home or in their classrooms as well.