Adults tend to view children as happy and carefree. Free from the daily stressors of the real world - bills, traffic jams, and a 9-5 job - we assume children have nothing to worry about but playdates, bee stings, and playground scrapes.
But even very young children deal with stress. Overscheduling, conflicts in the family, and problems with peers are all sources of stress for children. In fact, according to the WebMD Stress in Children Consumer Survey conducted during the summer of 2015, 72% of children showed negative behaviors linked to stress over the past year. The survey also found that children were complaining of physical symptoms linked to stress, with 44% of parents reporting that their children suffered from headaches, and 38% children complaining of nightmares or trouble sleeping.
So, how can you reduce your child’s stress and anxiety? These relaxing activities can help your child manage stress successfully.
Studies have shown that drawing and making art can effectively combat stress. The rhythmic motion of drawing with a pencil or using a paintbrush can induce a relaxed state. Even coloring with crayons can help not only children but adults relieve stress, as shown by the rising popularity of adult coloring books.
When children are drawing, painting, sculpting or participating in any artistic activity, they’re completely focused on the task at hand. This absolute concentration allows them to let go of their worries and simply enjoy creating art.
Cooking also acts as a stress reliever for children. Cooking diverts your child’s mind from daily stressors and refocuses their attention on preparing a meal. Children learn basic cooking skills that will prove beneficial into adulthood while relaxing and enjoying themselves. Not to mention, cooking can serve as an ideal bonding experience for children and older family members.
Meditation enables children to relax and concentrate on the here and now. Even a few minutes of meditation can relieve stress and restore emotional well-being. Meditating on a regular basis will increase self-awareness and help your child manage stress in the future. Meditation apps, such as Headspace, will teach your child simple meditation techniques they can practice everyday.
Knitting and other handwork techniques can serve as an effective tool in building children’s self-esteem and reducing stress. The repetitive work of knitting can have a soothing effect for children. According to Dr. Herbert Benson, author of “The Relaxation Response,” needle arts can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Needle arts forces children to stop and live in the moment, as they cannot multitask when knitting. Children can let go of their worries and focus on the project at hand. They’ll learn basic skills in a world of technology all while gaining self-confidence from successfully completing a project.
Do you think your child would enjoy learning handwork techniques? The Handwork Studio offers needle arts summer camp programs for a range of ages. Children will learn the tradition of needle arts and machine sewing in a nurturing and positive environment. Register your child for summer camp here!