Playing together helps reduce stress and anxiety!

When children are dealing with a lot of anxiety, they express it in many different ways. Some children may need more activity and stimuli, while others may withdraw or complain of tiredness or boredom. When children are stressed out, they are much more open for helpful activities than for long explanations. As you may know from your everyday life as a family, over-explaining can quickly lead to conflicts. 

If you do these activities together, they can have a double effect. Children can playfully reduce their anxiety or stress, and so can you!

Blow it out and shake it off

1. Blow all of your anxious, angry or worrisome thoughts into balloons

2. Let the balloon go and watch it zoom off. The sound usually leads to laughter. Did you know that laughter is a fast, effective stress-buster? When you’ve had enough, you can put a knot on the balloon and play a wild game of slow-motion volleyball – or pop it with a pin!

Exhale and gaze into the distance

1. Blow bubbles from a window or balcony.

2. Follow them with your gaze as long as you can.

Two-for-one: breathing exercise and play. Exhaling activates the “brakes” of the nervous system!

A hunting game to chase away anxiety

1. Choose a color that immediately comes to mind.

2. Look around and count as many objects with this color as fast as you can.

3. CONTEST: Who can find the most objects within 7 seconds? Ready, set GO!

Here’s an example for a quieter version of this game

What changes do you notice in yourself and in your child?

Face – relaxed or tense?

Breathing – shallow or deeper?

Muscles – loose or tight?

Voice – soft or “pressed”?

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Adapting to this new situation is full of potential challenges, as parents, couples and children! These tips are meant to help prevent stress and give children a sense of security.

Stress can be contagious

We humans have evolved as tribes. Over the ages, our “social brain” has evolved to help us respond to each other within milliseconds.