Our kids are very similar to us when it comes to stress in their lives. Not only do they have their own issues to deal with, magnified by the ever-growing impact of social media, they also pick up on our mental state. They also might not be at the developmental stage where they understand and can manage their own emotions.
But there are many ways in which you as a parent can be empowered to help your child!
As a holistic health coach, I realize there is no one-size-fits-all diet, fitness routine or spiritual practice that works for everyone.
Stress management is no different. Having your child know that he or she is supported and loved might be the most effective way of all. In addition, I’ve found various combinations of the stress reducers below have helped greatly with my daughters and my clients’ children. I’m confident they’ll help you too!
Children are people too, so don’t be afraid to try what works for you! Make going for walks in nature or on the beach part of your routine, be sure to not over-schedule them (or you!), work on mindfulness to replace negative thoughts with positive ones and don’t forget play and have fun!
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils, are amazing for stress relief (and so much more!). Because you can diffuse them and apply them topically, there are MANY ways to use oils with children. Make sure they are verified to be 100% pure therapeutic-grade, with no fillers or additives (be aware, this is not consistent amongst all brands).
Some of my top essential oils for helping calm down and relax: Lavender and Roman Chamomile are perfect scents to help transition into a more restful state. I am also a big fan of two blends made by the company Young Living Essential Oils: Peace & Calming and Stress Away which are both formulated specifically for stress and relaxation. They also have a sleep blend for that is kids safe; SleepyIze (Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Geranium, Frankincense, Bergamot and Tangerine).
You can diffuse oils, apply a drop or two to pillows or bedsheets, or apply a drop or two to the bottom of the feet or back of neck (“neat” on their own, or in a carrier oil like coconut, avocado or sweet almond if you prefer). Ylang Ylang is a less commonly known oil which is very calming and fights depression, lowers anxiety and stress. It is safe to diffuse around kids, but not for topical use on children 2 and under.
Meditation really just means sitting quietly with yourself and focusing on your breath for a period of time. Studies have shown that being consistent with a meditation practice makes one more resilient to stressful situations and able to more quickly calm down when upset. The earlier you can get your kids involved, the better! With my own daughters, I’ve found that just by putting a cushion on the floor, with a meditation timer app, some crystals, and essential oils is enough to intrigue them. My 19 month old even runs to the couch to grab her own pillow when she sees me setting up. I also put on calming music – you can use an app like CALM or try one of our Real Mom Daily free playlists. After we are all sitting comfortably, I have them take a few deep breaths. I tell them to inhale and smell the flowers and exhale and blow out the candles. We count our inhalations and exhalations. This really helps to slow down the breath AND focus on our breathing.
Yoga is a great stress-relieving tool for adults, but it can work wonders for kids too! For very young children, practicing a few poses together like downward dog, happy baby or child’s pose is a great introduction. The key is focusing on breathing and holding the poses. It’s also the perfect excuse for YOU to do yoga with them! If you can’t make a class (which I highly recommend, and do with both of my girls), try one of our Mindful Mama vide
os here at Real Mom Daily
Often symptoms or behaviors that indicate overstressing in children are actually caused by a vitamin deficiency. B-vitamins, magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acids in particular are essential for the body to metabolize stress hormones correctly. They can also help with anxiety disorders and ADHD. I also recommend taking a good quality probiotic for everyone, but that’s a different post for a different day!
Human beings respond well to touch. From a newborn infant to grown adults, wrapping your arms around someone is often the quickest way to help them calm down. The sense of touch really calms the nervous system. A pre-bedtime massage with a little massage oil and some essential oils (see my recommendations above!) can be just the thing to help a restless youngster calm down and get ready for sleep.
There are many causes of stress in children, like family dynamics, life transitions, trauma, environmental factors or a combination of things. Similarly, the way to help might be a combination as well! A holistic approach, combining mind (meditation, yoga), body (supplements, diet) and spirit (religion, spirituality, charity, spending time in nature) is more effective than any one thing individually.