The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Kids Calm

Kids can be so stubborn. Shot of a young mother looking frustrated while helping her daughter with homework at home.

Last Updated on

May 2nd, 2024 12:48 pm

From the invisible weight of the world’s expectations to the tangible challenges of daily life, our children’s emotional landscapes are complex and deeply affected by their experiences and development. This guide seeks to unwrap the layers of childhood anxiety, examining its roots from neurological development to personal encounters.

As you navigate the strategies to help manage your child’s anxiety, this guide will become an indispensable resource. It offers a blend of practical tips and soothing techniques, tailored to help young ones find their peace. Welcome to a journey towards creating an oasis of calm for the little minds in your life.

Why Children Experience Anxiety

Children may not always say when they feel anxious, often displaying physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and sleep disturbances. This silent suffering can mirror the signs of physical illness, but with roots in emotional distress. Alarmingly, the CDC has revealed that alongside anxiety, over one-third of affected children also struggle with behavioral challenges, and a similar fraction may endure depression.

Each year, around 5.8 million children in the United States are affected by anxiety disorders, a figure that underscores the urgency for parents and caregivers to develop a keen sense for the often non-verbal cues that signal anxiety in youth.

Understanding the Impact of Times and Stressful Situations

The earliest indicators of stress in children are often subtle but significant: shifts in mood, social withdrawal, reluctance to participate in once-enjoyed activities, and sleep disturbances. Stressors may stem from pivotal life changes, such as a parental divorce or a major move, to more everyday fears of the unknown, like the darkness or imagined creatures lurking under the bed.

Bedtime practices and the bedroom environment exert a considerable influence on assuaging young fears, empowering relaxation, and mitigating stress. In the day and age of excessive screen time and over-scheduling, the value of meditation has emerged as a clear choice for aiding children in anxiety and stress management, particularly aiding those with ADHD to navigate attention and impulse control challenges.

The Role of Brain Development in Anxiety

Brain development plays a crucial role in how children process and exhibit anxiety symptoms. Research points to how nutritional deficiencies, like low iron, can amplify brain fatigue, potentially escalating anxiety.

The developing brains of children are susceptible to stress, which could manifest physically rather than through dialogue about their fears or worries. Anxiety can arise from significant life-altering events, including familial upheaval or the arrival of a new sibling.

It’s worth noting that a parent’s own perceptions and fears can unknowingly be woven into their children’s mental framework, inadvertently establishing neural pathways that encourage anxiety.

How Personal Experiences and Feelings Contribute to Anxiety

Anxiety in children often takes the shape of physical discomfort, bypassing the expressiveness of words. It can lead to marked avoidance—of new situations, the likelihood of failure, or the potential of rejection—prompting them to seek constant reassurance.

This anxiety can coexist with or even stem from other emotional challenges such as depression or past trauma. Personal experiences deeply affect children, who may rely on comfort objects like teddy bears or favorite books as outlets for their difficult emotions and as a means of managing the sometimes-overwhelming world around them.

Physical Manifestations of Anxiety

Anxiety doesn’t always roar, sometimes it whispers through physical discomfort in children. Headaches and stomachaches can be silent pleas for help when words can’t punctuate their feelings. Sleep becomes elusive, and little bodies that should be bustling with energy become shrines to tension. This isn’t rare behavior; it’s a common yet often overlooked symptom of an internal emotional tornado.

Anxiety can coerce kids into a corner of avoidance, where new experiences are shunned, and reassurance becomes a lifeline to them—questions like “Are we going to be late?” transforming into a rhythm of their everyday soundtrack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pinpoints that roughly one-third of anxious youngsters battle with the darkness of depression, painting a vivid picture of intertwined mental health struggles.

The Connection Between Breathing and Anxiety

Breathing – it’s our life force, and wielded correctly, it’s a child’s sword in the battle against anxiety. This invisible harness controls pain, fights the fires of uncomfortable thoughts, and can even combat bodily inflammation. When stress climbs the walls of a child’s mind, breathing exercises become a bridge to serenity.

Take ‘bunny-breathing’ for instance; it takes a child on an imaginative journey, one short sniff at a time, teaching them control and patience. By blending breathing games and exercises with playfulness in yoga or during a focused snack time, the seeds of relaxation are sown.

Encouraging kids to visualize inflating a balloon or savoring the scent of a flower as they take deep breaths isn’t just whimsy – it’s a subtle craft in mindfulness, grounding them in the calm of the present.

The Relationship Between Noise and Anxiety

The world’s sounds can feel like a tempest to a child’s ears, stirring up anxiety. It’s at times like these that white noise machines stand as a lighthouse, guiding them to a safe sleep haven amidst the clamor. Noise-canceling headphones are another ally endorsed by mental health warriors, where a bubble of silence can be a shield in tumultuous environments like schools or airplanes.

The muffling technology of these headphones create pockets of peace, allowing children the space to breathe away the tension caused by overwhelming auditory stimuli. Not just for travel or stressed study sessions, these devices can be a constant companion in creating a sanctuary from stress, helping little ones to tether their thoughts away from the chaos and into tranquility.

How Energy Levels Affect Anxiety

The dance of energy within us is delicate and when out of step, anxiety can leap forward. Self-awareness of energy—a sort of internal thermostat—is a critical ability for children to learn. It’s about marshaling the right amount of vigor or calm behavior in response to the twists and turns of daily life.

It’s worth noting that nutrients are the unsung heroes in this narrative, with low iron sapping strength and heightening anxiety, while magnesium plays the gracious savior easing stress. Anxiety pumps cortisol, playing the puppeteer and making restful sleep a difficult act.

These energy fluctuations are not just a matter of fatigue; they reflect the profound connection between anxiety and the body’s equilibrium, emphasizing the importance of both external and internal influences on a child’s emotional well-being.

Strategies for Managing Anxiety in Children

In challenging times, when children’s heart rates are up, and blood pressure rises, the need for explicit directions and tools becomes patent to aid them in calming down. Child therapists recommend specific strategies that empower children to navigate through and manage strong emotions—a boon for both the child and the parent.

Crucially, there exists a wealth of products and resources on the market designed to sprinkle a sense of peace upon the anxious child’s mind, body, and spirit. These strategies for kids are not just fleeting comforts but are instrumental in developing emotional intelligence and character, fostering an environment where children can flourish in both school and life.

Embracing these tools is key, for telling a child to simply calm down is insufficient without teaching them concrete methods for coping with stress and anxiety.

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Relief

The ebb and flow of anxiety in children can be effectively managed with controlled breathing exercises—an essential and natural strategy. Breathing is both a sword and a shield against anxiety, capable of lessening pain, balancing thoughts, and even fighting inflammation.

Bunny-breathing is a creative exercise that incorporates playful sniffing, in short bursts, followed by a full exhale, teaching children to regulate their breath and find calm. Integrating deep breathing into activities such as yoga or a quiet moment can shift their focus to the now, allowing relief from the grip of anxiety. Employing animal themes can inject an element of fun, motivating children to engage regularly in breathing exercises for anxiety relief.

The Role of Sensory Input in Anxiety Regulation

Sensory input plays a pivotal role in the soothing of an anxious or distressed child, especially for those with sensory processing disorders. The gentle pressure from weighted products like blankets, lap pads, and vests offers a kind of therapeutic hug that can comfort and ease a child’s nervous system.

For an additional layer of relaxation, weighted lap pads can be warmed to envelop the child in both comforting pressure and heat. Creating a personalized sensory box or bag with mindful coloring pages, beloved family photos, and other calming items can give children a sense of control over their emotions.

Furthermore, meditation serves as an invaluable strategy, cultivating the skill of observing feelings without judgment and responding with calm thoughtfulness, thus enhancing focus and coping mechanisms, particularly for children who experience anxiety disorders or sit on the autism spectrum.

Calming Activities for Anxious Children

When dealing with an anxious child, sensory-distracting items like chew necklaces—Chewelry—can provide a safe alternative to chewing on clothing or nails, channeling the child’s need to chew into a calming activity. Fidget toys are similarly advantageous, offering a physical outlet for children’s nervous energy.

Guided audio experiences that encourage kids to focus on soothing sounds, such as the waves of the ocean, can effectively support anxiety and stress management. Incorporating these calming activities into short, consistent meditation sessions builds a peaceful routine, tailored to engage a child’s pre-frontal cortex, also know as the thinking brain, and promote a sense of tranquility and focus.

The Benefits of Coloring and Activity Books for Anxiety

The tranquility of coloring is not just for adults—it’s also a serene harbor for children working through difficult feelings. Coloring and activity books, with their quiet, non-competitive nature, offer a creative outlet for children to channel their focus and disengage from stress, subsequently reducing their stress levels.

After a day filled with social interplay, the colors and patterns in these books can be a sanctuary, allowing young ones to process their day and unwind in a creative and relaxing way. Coloring instills a calming effect, sharpening concentration and fostering freedom of creative expression.

How Comfort Items and Aromatherapy Can Help Reduce Anxiety

Physical activity can be a balm to an anxious or distressed child. Comfort items like trampolines, swings, and play tents invite children to expel energy through dynamic movements like bouncing and swinging, thereby reducing stress and anxiety. Not only do these stimulate their sensory input, but the cardiovascular exercise they encourage is also crucial for reaching healthy fatigue that translates into restful sleep.

On the more serene side of the spectrum is aromatherapy: essentials oils such as lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can induce relaxation and sleepiness, reducing a child’s anxiety when used with care and appropriate guidance. Aromatherapy combined with comfort items becomes a robust toolkit for managing a child’s anxiety.

Using White Noise and Soothing Voice to Promote Relaxation

Noise—a daily component of life—can agitate an anxious or distressed child. Herein lies the utility of white noise machines: they provide a consistent, soothing backdrop of sound that can muffle anxiety-inducing noise, fostering a calming environment conducive to relaxation and sleep. A soothing voice, whether from a parent or a narrator on a guided visual imagery CD, can too act like a calmative agent.

Sound soothers emanating gentle, natural sounds have been found to promote relaxation effectively, helping to soothe an anxious child’s mind before sleep or during times of stress, thus enabling them to transition into a more calm and peaceful state of being.

Practical Tips for Parents and Caregivers

In the parenting journey, a steadfast routine can act as an anchor, giving children a sense of security, particularly during life’s ebbs and flows. Consistency in daily schedules, including transitions between activities, curtails the stressful times that often stem from unpredictability.

For those moments when emotions still run high, a ‘calm down box’ can be an exceptional resource. Filled with tactile tools and fidget items, it provides a practical way to diffuse tension and foster self-regulation.

Moreover, nurturing generosity in little ones by encouraging acts of kindness can beautifully redirect their focus outward, thus diminishing inward-facing stressors. This, combined with giving them engaging sensory objects during moments of upheaval, equips them to better navigate their feelings. Breathing exercises also serve admirably in shepherding kids from chaotic mental states to composure, particularly helping them to resettle after energetic breaks.

Focus on calm body language when trying to calm down your child. Avoid frantic movements or gestures and instead use slow, deliberate movements to convey a sense of calmness. Maintain eye contact and speak in a calm and soothing tone. Your body language will help signal to your child that it’s time to relax and that everything is under control.

Helping Children Self-Regulate and Develop Emotional Intelligence

Coloring ventures beyond art; it’s a nurturing low-stress endeavor that captivates children’s focus and fires up their imaginative engines. As a non-competitive venture, it permits them to express their individuality without the pressure of performance. Alongside coloring, deep breathing exercises engrain mindfulness and calmness, easing emotional turbulence with each measured inhalation and exhalation.

To set the stage for relaxation, dimming the lights post-rigorous activity can signal a transition to quieter times, aiding in the settling down process. Adding sensory objects or fidget toys to a child’s calm-down toolkit gives their hands a grounding task that can help center their minds. Empowering children with their own strategies for self-regulation nurtures their budding emotional intelligence, fostering a close bond built on trust and mutual respect.

Strategies for Managing Anxiety in Different Settings (e.g., Bath Time, Bedtime)

When the sun dips below the horizon, and the moon emerges, a tranquil bedtime routine can tip the scales towards a serene night’s sleep. Lowering cortisol levels by allaying bedtime fears tees up a slippery slide into slumber. Including deep breathing or guided meditation in the night-time narrative can be a lullaby for the psyche, unwinding knots of stress that may linger from the day.

Adjusting lighting to a warmer, dimmer glow does wonders in cuing drowsiness, adding to a comforting pre-sleep atmosphere. Integrating bath time rituals—embellished with a warm beverage like milk—can cultivate calmness, functioning as precursors to a restful night. Parents might list these activities in a visual bedtime chart to ensure each step is a familiar, soothing prelude to sleep.

Aromatherapy Practices for Promoting Relaxation and Calmness

A whiff of something pleasant can transport a child from a tempest of emotion to a tranquil meadow of the mind. The judicious use of essential oils—think soothing lavender, gentle chamomile—can bring tranquility, inspire better sleep, and even ease physical discomfort. Aromatherapy’s growing role as a complementary healthcare practice is a testament to its gentle effectiveness for children’s well-being.

Parents should adhere to safety guidelines when using essential oils with their children to prevent adverse effects. Coupling relaxing scents with guided imagery via video can weave a tapestry of calm in the evening. Studies reinforce that this combination can loosen the tight threads of anxiety, slowing heart rates, and ushering in a more peaceful state.

Providing Comfort and Support During Difficult Times

Tactile comfort, in the form of a reassuring embrace or an invitation to curl up on a lap, can be a solace during tough times. Keeping lines of communication open, explaining thorny situations, and offering physical tokens of comfort—as simple as a favorite plush toy—can mollify a child’s acute distress.

Promoting expression through conversation, such as discussing their feelings openly or creating a ‘feelings vine,’ can be a visual and verbal outlet for understanding emotions. This combines emotional education with immediate comfort— a potent mixture for developing resilience.

Addressing Poor Choices and Upset Behavior in Children with Anxiety

Learning to cope with anxiety is not just a phase—it’s an essential life skill. Preparing children with anxiety to confront frustrations with healthy coping mechanisms, rather than emotional outbursts, is foundational for their long-term well-being. Addressing poor choices or behaviors when calm can teach children about consequences and better strategies for the future.

Redirecting their focus with soothing activities—churning sand, squeezing a stress ball—provides an immediate alternative to panic. Visual and physical cues, like a glitter-filled calming jar, can engender a sense of control and progress in conquering emotional upheaval. Suitable for various ages, these tools are not just a quick fix; they shape a framework for enduring emotional resilience.

Keeping Kids Calm

Keeping kids calm can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies and tools, it is definitely achievable. From incorporating aromatherapy and guided imagery to offering tactile comfort and support during difficult situations, parents can create a calm and soothing environment for their children.

It is also important to address poor choices and upset behavior in a calm manner, teaching children healthy coping mechanisms and providing them with alternative activities to redirect their focus.

By incorporating the strategies highlighted above and utilizing the right tools, parents can help their kids navigate through challenging negative emotions and situations, promoting a sense of calm and teaching them essential life skills that will benefit them in the long run. So, why not give it a try?

Disclosure: Every time you click on a link on our site, we may get a small commission paid to us. We do this to keep the content free-to-read. If you're privacy focused, you can support the site by using Brave Browser and BAT tokens - We're verified creators! Thank you for helping us showcase the future of neurodivergent talent.

What is your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure
Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

You may also like

Comments are closed.