Anxiety tends to have a trickle-down effect; if you are feeling anxious, chances are good that your kids are feeling it, too. Even if you have somehow managed to stay stress-free, many things in a child’s world can ignite angst. A few major culprits include: sugar, performance anxiety, competition, test scores, too much screen time, and a lack of connection to our natural world. The best coping mechanisms are often the most basic and can have a positive effect on both parent and child. There is also the added benefit of spending quality time together. Be present with your child and give them the attention that they need and deserve.
Find time to reconnect with nature.
This can be as simple as taking a visit to your local park or maybe planting a garden together. Plan the family vacation in a natural setting such as the beach or a camping trip. Celebrate the holidays by honoring the meaning and ritual with the change of seasons. Our holidays are steeped in deep tradition and reverence for the natural world and we often lose sight of this during the hustle and bustle.
Eating a balanced diet
Eat a diet full of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. Buy the best that you can afford and try to source local and organic whenever possible. Spending money on quality food is never a decision that you will regret. Our soil has become depleted from the essential vitamins and nutrients, making us work harder to obtain these vital elements.
Sleep is very important
Our bodies are repairing themselves and storing energy for the day ahead. Ensuring a good night’s sleep will do wonders for keeping your anxiety levels to a minimum. Try to stick to a routine as much as possible and avoid screen time right before bed. The old standby of bath / book / bed works well for both children and adults.
Movement is one of the best ways to ease anxiety.
Yoga is beneficial by combining movement with controlled breathing, helping to regulate the stress response system. The benefits build gradually over weeks and months so it is important to keep a regular practice. In order to keep your child engaged, keep it light and fun. Be fluid and adaptable; one way to link back to the natural world is to focus the poses on animals or perhaps a seasonal theme.
Here’s a fun little activity to try with your little ones !
Start by having your child sit with their eyes closed and practice Bee Breath by humming softly. Have him or her sit in Seated Butterfly Pose and tell a riddle:
” I flit and flutter everywhere
Happy free light as air
With silent grace I land on things
And sunlight dances on my wings ”
Let them fly and float as if they were a butterfly around the room to burn off some giggles before settling down for a Rain Dance:
- Sit in boat pose with straight back and feet on the floor.
- Clap hands for lightening, stomp feet for thunder, and snap fingers for rain.
- Let the sun shine and welcome a rainbow with arms spread wide open.
- This is a great time to break into a round of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat!”
- Guide them down to their back and let them grab the soles of their feet for Happy Baby Pose. Kids love to act out Angry Baby and this is a perfect way to relieve any pent up tension.
- Have them settle into Final Resting Pose. Stillness can be the most beneficial part of this practice as many children rarely get the chance to just be.
- Ease them through this transition with a soothing voice, a back or foot rub, or a temple massage.
- Let them integrate the benefits with deep calming breaths. Gently rouse them after a few moments of silence and take a few deep breaths together to prepare for the day.