Finding kid-friendly activities is easy, but how do you get kids to relax when it’s time to wind down?
Try these 7 easy ways:
1. Get artistic
Working in the visual arts has been shown to reduce stress in general. Set aside half an hour at night when needed for a calming art-related activity such as coloring or painting.
Try different prompts:
- Limit the medium to one thing: crayons or colored pencils or watercolors
- Ask your child to draw something using just one color in all different mediums to stimulate creativity
- Ask your child to draw a calming image like a pet sleeping or the night sky
2. Do yoga
Yoga may not seem like something a high-energy child will enjoy, but it’s actually quite kid-friendly. The poses have fun names like “downward-facing dog” and “cat-cow;” most are easy to pick up just by watching; and children love to mimic their parents’ activities, so if you already do yoga, it can be a great bonding experience. Plus yoga teaches children how to exercise, builds confidence and improves concentration.
3. Create a calm down kit
Teaching children to relax and manage their own anxiety gives them an important skill they can take with them into adulthood. Create a customized toolkit with activities that soothe your child, and use it to wind down at the end of the day or any time you feel anxiety spiraling out of control.
Your kit might include:
- A kaleidoscope
- Stress balls
- A photo album
- A sticker book
- Lavender scented play dough
- Natural stress relief drops
- Relaxation prompt cards with calming activities such as humming a song or drawing a picture
4. Have a sing-along
Singing out loud has been shown to release endorphins, and it can help build confidence in kids too. Give your child a list of slow-tempo songs and let them pick a few to sing along with. Find karaoke versions online if you want to incorporate a reading element, and add in instruments if anyone in your family plays.
5. Blow bubbles
It sounds simple, but blowing bubbles can help you gain control of breathing and, in turn, your thoughts. The same is true for blowing on pinwheels.
6. Squish something
When a child plays with putty or play dough, the brain’s electrical impulses begin firing away from the areas associated with stress. Sitting in one place has a calming effect, and the quiet time gives kids a chance to express themselves or talk with you or their siblings.
7. Find a soothing sip
Pick a non-caffeinated drink your child loves and make it their bedtime or relaxation drink. Whether it’s low-sugar juice, hot chocolate or milk, building an association between a certain beverage and winding down can help you create a nightly relaxation ritual.