Teaching children to manage stress

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Teaching children to manage stress

We need to talk to children about stress, so that they know how to react to the signals that indicate its presence and acquire the necessary tools to manage it effectively. All this is possible if we help them ...

Last update: July 06, 2020

Stress is part of adult life these days and, unfortunately, it is also present in that of many children. The pace of life has increased significantly in recent years. If it is essential for adults to learn how to manage this condition, the result of the set of needs and obligations they have to face, teaching children to manage stress is even more important.



Knowing how to set priorities, manage time or carve out moments of rest and calm are fundamental aspects to prevent stress from becoming the main protagonist in the life of the little ones. For this reason, teaching them to manage stress, or worrying about inculcating strategies for coping with stressful situations or times, will make them feel better and will cope more effectively with daily difficulties.

Determining the underlying problem of stress, what can cause it, and what steps to take is key to helping your child get better and feel more relaxed.

What causes stress to children?

Overwork, haste and overload of responsibility can cause stress for young and old. However, many other elements contribute to increasing stress levels, such as noise, ambient saturation (stimuli of all kinds competing to get our attention) or light from electronic devices (computers, cell phones, televisions).

For children with a greater tendency to susceptibility to noise and other physical stimuli, daily stressors are amplified, which makes the need for downtime even more crucial. If we add to this school and extracurricular activities, the pressure to succeed, family changes or conflicts and other factors that can cause stress, we have the perfect recipe for a stressed child.



Moreover, the less physical activity typical of our days does not help in this sense. What's more: a child who does not play sports loses one of their main tools for managing stress. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends giving children one hour of physical activity a day. Reducing this time harms their physical and mental health.

Childhood Stress Signals

Stress signals in children can go unnoticed, and in some cases even confusing. Let's talk about stomach pain, headache, or behavioral changes. Mood swings and difficulty sleeping and concentrating at school may also be noted.

Furthermore, if major changes occur in the child's life, such as a move or the arrival of a new member in the family, parents should pay particular attention to the possible consequences. In this way, it will be possible to detect any signs of childhood stress in time. It is equally important to consider that stress can arise from events that have occurred at school or in any place where the child spends a lot of time.

Strategies for teaching children to manage stress

A child usually does not understand that what is happening to him is related to stress. He may simply feel sad, overwhelmed, angry, or anxious. Stress may be new to him and he will most likely not know how to regulate his emotions. Teaching children to manage stress is therefore indispensable; they have to understand what it is, what causes it and how to deal with it.

For this purpose, parents must:

  • Create a climate of trust with their children to convey to them the idea that they can talk about anything.
  • Listen carefully and actively what they wish to communicate, before offering suggestions and advice. This attitude will place more value on any words we add to the dialogue.
  • For many children it is much easier to talk about their problems in active situations, especially those that promote relaxation, such as non-competitive play and recreational activities (a walk in the countryside or the preparation of an easy recipe). Getting them to participate in this kind of activity will help them to let off steam and feel better.
  • Encourage them to do aerobic physical activity, activities that promote relaxation, as well as to carve out moments of peace, tranquility and rest.

Yoga and meditation to help children manage stress

To conclude, we recall the results of a recent study published in Psychology Research and Behavior Management which states that practicing yoga and attention meditation from an early age can help children manage stress and anxiety. This topic has been under study for several years.



Thanks to these two activities, children experience an improvement in the quality of life on an emotional and relational level. It is not only important to teach children to manage stress through activities that involve emotional aspects and creativity, but also working the mind through the body can promote an increase in their well-being.


Yoga and full attention can facilitate stress management in elementary school children and can be an adjunct to social and emotional learning activities

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