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Back to School De-Stressors for Kids

Many of us reminisce to those simple days of being a kid.....there were no worries of bills, traffic, and work. A kid's biggest worries are compromised of lunch, friends, and whether the class stays inside or out for recess. Big deal right? But if you really, really think back to childhood, it was a big deal! And still is. Childhood can be overwhelming as kids are growing, changing, and learning about the world around them. And going back to school with new teachers, new faces, and new rules can seem daunting. So, just like us, kids need a way to decompress and release this tension. Here are some breathing and meditation techniques that they can use:

1. Color Breath-Kids love to discuss their favorite colors, food, movies, you name it, right? Color breath is a nice way for them to focus on breath imagining that they breathe all the way in with their favorite color. They then empty it all the way out with a 2nd favorite color such as their favorite animal in that color or a rainbow.

2. Belly Breath-Have them lie flat on the floor and place a pillow or stuffed animal on their belly. As they breathe in, the object grows with deeper and deeper breaths. As they breathe out the objects goes back down. They can play around with trying to knock that object over from breathing so deeply.

3. Emptying the brain "garbage can"-My 7 year old gave me this analogy the other day (and I use it for myself sometimes at the end of a long day!). Lying in bed or winding down at the end of the day, think of any unpleasant thoughts, worries, or occurrences to the day. Then imagine putting those in the trash can & throwing them away.

4. Sound breaths-There are various types of breaths available but the main purpose here is to ensure the focus is brought inward and deeper breaths are taken. Some of my favorites are horse breath in which you breathe in and exhale like a horse moving the lips. Another one would be lion's breath in which you inhale, then exhale sticking out the tongue & taking gaze up towards the sky. At the least these will produce giggles which usually decrease the stress immediately!

5. Any other "un-plugged" time- Bottom line here is as long as they are engaged and bringing awareness to how they feel, it is helping to cope with those stressors. Less TV, iPad, game time. More thinking, imagining, feeling.

We can't necessarily avoid those stressful situations of new school beginnings but, ensuring that they take less "screen time" and more time just to "be aware" goes a long way.

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