Children's Development

Mindfulness Toolkit

Dealing with stress can be particularly challenging for children who may not fully understand the feelings they are experiencing, or possess the tools to manage their emotions. Parents and educators can encourage healthy behaviors that help kids cope with their feelings.

Children can face a wide variety of stressors, both big and small. Common sources include school-related pressures such as homework, tests, and peer interactions. Other causes could be changes in home life, worrying about the future, or feeling overwhelmed by commitments. Here are useful tips for children to build resilience and be better equipped to cope with stress.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help calm the mind. Use belly breathing techniques or guided imagery. Try out stress balls or sensory toys.

Talk to a professional

It can be helpful to connect with a therapist or counselor who specializes in working with children. They can offer support and guidance in developing coping skills and strategies for managing stress.

Encourage Physical Activity

Exercise can release tension and reduce stress levels. Encourage kids to participate in active hobbies such as biking, hiking, or jump rope. Stretching, yoga, or active games with family and friends are great and don’t put the focus on winning.

Connect with Nature

Spending time in nature has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. Get outdoors, whether it’s going for a walk, camping, or simply playing at a local park.

Set a Routine

Establishing a regular routine and schedule can help reduce uncertainty and create a sense of stability for children. Try to build in time for relaxation and self-care activities, as well as structured time for homework and other responsibilities.

Down Time

Make sure kids get plenty of rest! Sleep is so important for growing bodies. Quiet time is also just as important as it promotes relaxation, creativity, and helps improve their ability to focus and regulate emotions. Cut down on extra activities if you get the sense over-scheduling is adding too much pressure.

Practice Gratitude

Encourage children to focus on the positive aspects of their lives. Teach them to keep a gratitude journal or make a daily list of things that make them thankful.

Seek Relationships

Connecting with other kids and family members can provide a sense of validation and support. Having strong relationships can help a child feel more willing to open up and share feelings. Talking to someone else and relating to others can be very beneficial for well-being.

Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.