Anxiety Releasing Methods for Children
Children with learning disabilities often become overwhelmed in school. It can be important for them to learn at an early age how to relax and let go of stress. Here are some relaxation exercises that can be used as coping skills for children.
Classical music is frequently noted for its relaxing properties. A good way to enhance this effect is to have the child close their eyes, and count the number of times the music changes significantly. This focuses the child’s attention on the music, and can help stop the whirl of thoughts in their head.
Active Muscle Relaxation
When our bodies are stressed, our muscles receive signals from the brain to tense up to aid in running away and escaping danger. Modern stressors tend to come from mental, not physical tasks. This means that occasionally we need to actively relax all the muscles in our body.
One way to do this is to actively tense each muscle in the body, hold it there for a few seconds, and then let go of all tension. Repeat this for every major muscle group from the feet all the way up to the face.
If your child is having trouble understanding 'tense' versus 'relax', use strong descriptions like, "Turn the muscles in your arms into rocks. Hold. Now let them get all floppy, like a deflated balloon."
Have your child close their eyes and imagine their favorite color. Ask your child to breathe in this color, until they are filled with it. Tell them to exhale out all the uncomfortable feelings. This helps the child have a color that they associate with being relaxed.
When they are in a stressful situation, they can look around, find an object that is their happy color and feel more in control.
Stretching and Exercising
The body releases happy endorphins when you work out. Exercise can also be a great way to release tension in the muscles or work out nervous energy. Go for a walk. Learn yoga together. Teach each other a silly dance. Any exercise is good exercise.
Laughter has long been said to be the best medicine. Laughing can help lighten up a bad mood and good endorphin flowing. A good belly laugh can even exercise core muscles. Tell your child jokes. Make up stories with them.
Take a Bath
A nice calming warm bath with bubbles can be a great way to ease your child's stress and help them find a safe place. Put on some soothing music and keep the lighting low as they scrub away the stress.
Make your own Stress Balls
Fill a sock with rice and sew it together. Have your child squeeze this whenever they are overwhelmed. Add a drop of essential oil and you have an aromatherapy tool.
Stress is a normal part of everyday life. For children with learning disabilities, behavioral problems or giftedness, it can be a major road block in their path to success.
For more information about psychological services for children with learning disabilities, Edmonton families are encouraged to visit our services page.