Sometimes adults can forget that children can and do experience stress. I’ve heard some adults say ‘what does a child have to be stressed about?’ Size and age has nothing to do with how we react to life experiences. Adults may think that because they have adult size responsibilities that the experience of a child is somehow less than what they as adults experience. Personally, I think that the things kids have to deal with in their lives, combined with the fact that they haven’t developed all the tools to cope with life yet, makes their experience of stress pretty significant.
There are so many things that children experience that create stress from social dynamics to insecurities about looks, to the pressure that they or we put on them to do well. Every kid is different and what worries them, or bothers them or stresses them out, is going to be just as different. But there is no shortage of experiences that can create stress for our children.
It’s important to be aware of stress in our kids and to talk to them both specifically and in general about it. They need to know that we all experience. They need to know that some things are worth worrying about and some things just aren’t. They need to know that they can talk to you about what they are experiencing and you need to remember to listen rather than criticize or problem solves. (It never helps to tell anyone that what they are experiencing is ‘stupid’ or to dismissively say ‘well, that’s silly, you don’t need to worry about that.’
Teaching them to use their breath is a simple and effective tool that they can access anywhere, anytime they need.
Slow, deep breaths can help relieve stress, can help calm the mind and can help them fall asleep. There are many specific benefits of deep breathing.
Here are just a few benefits of deep breathing:
- Slows the heart rate.
- Boosts the immune system by increasing oxygen in the body
- Relaxes the body and the mind
- Relieves pain. Studies have shown that breathing into pain, rather than what we do naturally which is hold our breath, can relieve pain.
- Help create positive emotional states. Breathing helps to stimulate the pleasure inducing neurochemicals in the brain which then create a ‘good mood’.
Best of all, deep breathing is simple and free. Your child can do this whenever, wherever he or she feels the need and other kids won’t even notice.
All that is required with deep breathing is slow deep breaths in and out.
- Breath in for a count of 5 (up to 10 for older kids). As you breath in picture the breath climbing up and reaching the top of a peak and then let the breath cascade down the other side as you exhale.
- Continue with slow deep breaths in and out.
- A child can do for this for as little or as long as they want.
This is a great tool to teach all children. It puts the power to manage their own emotional state in their own hands. They don’t have to ask anyone, they don’t have to tell anyone. All they have to do is breath in and breath out.
The earlier you can share this powerful tool with your child, the better equipped he or she will be to manage their life experiences.
© 2012 Christine Agro
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Christine Agro is a Clairvoyant, Naturopath, Master Herbalist, Conscious Mom and Author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.