It’s never too early to start teaching kids about the importance of taking care of their mental health. Learning techniques that help them understand their emotions and develop appropriate responses will support them long into the future. In fact, studies have shown that introducing mindfulness practices early in childhood helps kids improve their focus, reduce their levels of stress and anxiety, and even combat disruptive behaviour in the classroom.
Why is it important to teach kids calming techniques?
A recent survey found that the number of children being treated for mental health problems in the UK reached a record high. According to NHS data, more than 400,000 children are being treated for mental health problems every month. This demonstrates an unprecedented wellbeing crisis, which has been brought on by pandemic-related isolation, disruption to education, and anxiety over global events.
Mental health problems in children range from low self-esteem, to depression, anxiety and even feelings of anger and frustration. Unfortunately, these issues are exacerbated by the fact that UK services are unable to cope with the rise in demand from a new generation.
What calming strategies can you teach kids?
It’s very easy for children to be overcome with emotions that they don’t understand. Getting control of those emotions can be difficult. Anxiety is a normal emotion to experience at any age, but kids have fewer tools at their disposal to help them manage their emotional state. Instead, kids often vent their frustration by having an outburst or displaying aggression.
Introducing calming techniques to kids can help them feel more in control of their emotions and better prepared to manage stress and anxiety in the future. Here are some of the techniques you can teach your children to feel calmer and cope better with stressful feelings.
Breath-centric practices have been employed as a method for reducing stress and anxiety as far back as ancient China, around 2,000 B.C. Recently, breath focus has been used as a technique for lowering stress and promoting relaxation. Breathing deeply can help kids remain calm and relaxed, and better able to manage situations that cause stress or anxiety.
When your child experiences anxiety, they enter ‘fight or flight’ mode, which usually results in shallow, quick breathing. Breathing deeply can pull them out of this by helping them back into ‘rest and digest’ mode. There are a number of exercises you can use to encourage your child to breathe deeply, and they can even start with fun exercises like blowing bubbles.
While breathing is central to most forms of meditation, breath practices and meditation aren’t the same thing. Meditation is a focus on present moment awareness, and it seeks to support a more focussed mind to foster wellbeing and reduce suffering. Rather than manipulating your breathing to produce a physiological and physiological response, it asks instead for you to simply observe your breathing to increase your awareness. For children, meditation can help achieve better focus, foster compassion, raise self-esteem, boost confidence and even become happier.
Art therapy uses creativity to help children explore their feelings and thoughts. It has been used as a mechanism to support children and adults as they process traumatic events that might have happened to them, but it’s also a great way to promote a sense of calm. It has been shown to have a profound effect on children who struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties. It can encompass a whole host of creative disciplines, including painting, drawing, colouring, writing stories and poetry.
According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of children between the ages of 11 and 17 aren’t getting enough physical exercise. Physical activity can provide both adults and children with a healthy and effective way to cope with stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression. In fact, experts say that physical activity allows children to have a more positive outlook on life by helping them build confidence, manage their anxiety and decrease their overall levels of tension.
Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can help instil a sense of calm, promote balance and support feelings of happiness and joy in children. It can help children regulate their emotions and provide a much-needed break from overstimulation in the environment.
Children can either listen to their favourite music to gain therapeutic benefits, or they can learn how to play an instrument. In fact, learning how to play an instrument has been shown to have a profound effect on children who suffer from hyperactivity disorders.
According to a 2016 survey, 75% of UK kids get less time outside than prison inmates. The coronavirus pandemic has reduced this figure further, with 8 in 10 children spending less time outdoors with friends than they did prior to 2020. As human beings, we have a deep connection with the natural world that’s hard to replicate in our daily lives.
Nature can have a profound effect on our mental and physical wellbeing, which is why walking in nature is often recommended in addition to therapy as a way of combating depression, anxiety and excessive stress. Nature can help children to feel more confident, calmer, less stressed, and it can help provide them with both physical and mental benefits.
However, the rise of urban environments means that children generally have less access to green spaces. It can be hard, therefore, for many kids to maintain that much needed connection to nature. One of the best and most popular alternatives for those who have little access to the healing power of nature, is digital windows and sky ceilings. Sky Inside products can replicate amazing natural scenes anywhere, offering your family all the benefits of nature, no matter where you are in the world.
Are you ready to reduce your stress and anxiety, uplift your mood and create a healing environment for your whole family? Contact Sky Inside for a bespoke quote.