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10 Child-Friendly Ways to Relieve Stress


24/7… that’s the parenting gig. Yes there’s the occasional time away or night out, but all day and all night I’m with my kids. This means that when I’m feeling stressed out, it’s not like I can tell them to fend for themselves while I go for a massage. I need to find ways to de-stress and refocus while they’re still hanging off of me.

Here are my top 10 ways to relieve stress when I’m around my children.

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Deep breathing

I tell them that we’re going to pretend to blow up a balloon. We take a deep breath in and then we let a deep breath out. We repeat this until I feel my nerves have settled.

Play with play dough

Play dough is a wonderful way to relieve stress. Squeezing, pulling, pounding, squishing… all of these actions release stress and tension. Looking for a great play dough recipe? I have several of my favourite recipes available HERE.

Bonus tip: Add a few drops of pure lavender essential oil to your play dough recipe.

Yoga

Get out those yoga mats and do some yoga together. I love the Yoga Kids DVD but I also have a membership to Stay-At-Home-Yoga (online yoga classes). The Stay-at-Home-Yoga online class has a section specific to child yoga too!

Play with puppets

Puppets are a wonderful way to express yourself in a “safe” manner (i.e. “Dragon is really sad because he feels like no one listens to his words when he talks…”). Use the puppet stage to work through those challenging situations with your children.

Colour a picture together

From choosing the colours, to the action of moving the crayon back and forth, I love colouring and find it to be one of the most relaxing activities there is.

Play hide and seek

You hide and they look for you (take a few deep breaths and enjoy the brief alone time). When they hide maybe take a little bit longer to find them (perhaps long enough to brew yourself a cup of tea)?

Have a tea party

Speaking of tea… if you can’t sneak a cup of tea, then why not host a tea party. Brew up a pot of chamomile tea and share it with your little lovelies.

Listen to music

Music is a wonderful way to relax and de-stress with your kids. Put on some calming music and lay on the bed or floor. Look up at the ceiling and let the music take your mind on a journey.

Last week Matthew shared some wonderful ways to incorporate music into your homeschooling day. His website CalmingMusicWeekly.com has some wonderful posts about music… especially calming music. I encourage you to check it out for ideas and inspiration.

Some of our favourite choices of calming music are classical pieces and mellow jazz.

Go for a walk

Getting ready for a walk can be a bit of a daunting task but once you’re outside breathing in the fresh air and hopefully soaking up sunshine, you’ll feel better in no time.

Read together

Whether you read side-by-side or you simply read story after story to your children, reading is great for stress relief. If you don’t have the energy to read out loud, then try listening to a child-friendly audio-book.

When you can’t manage time away from your children, what do you do to relieve stress?

Jennifer-The-Deliberate-Mom-Signature

Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.

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71 thoughts on “10 Child-Friendly Ways to Relieve Stress

  • Janine Huldie

    What can I say but awesome tips and my younger daughter is home today, because of a snow day with her pre-school and may have to take you up on a few of these. Thanks Jennifer and hoping you are having a great week so far!! :) xoxo!!

  • Amanda @ Growing Up Madison

    I’m home today with my toddler but have an appointment with my realtor this afternoon to look at a new house and I have to admit that I’ve tried a few of these and they do work. I really love the hide and seek because she loves to hide and I take my sweet old time (sometimes not) finding her. :)

  • Sarah Nenni Daher

    How funny that you published this today – I was just writing up an article about having a spa day with the kids! :) I’m definitely going to be taking these to heart and adding them to my to do list.

  • Jen@JENerallyInformed

    Great tips! We really do need little bursts of stress relievers throughout the day.

    I have finally started playing with play dough with Anneliese. She used to eat it instead of play with it, but now that I make homemade I don’t worry so much about it. She is sick right now and I have to say I cannot wait till the hubs gets home so I can go for a little stress relieving walk!

    Have a great day!

  • Kristen

    This is awesome, some wonderful suggestion! I love playdough, stretching,exercising together and baking believe it or not! Just the time together focusing on something else!

  • Iulia Gulia

    Ha! I tried to play hide and seek with my 3 year old the other day…he totally doesn’t grasp the concept of it, but it made for lots of giggles! But I love the idea of taking a moment to regroup during the counting part!

  • Shilo

    Ooo, I like all of these things, although some might not be so relaxing for me. For some reason my daughter always shreds playdough into little bits that get everywhere. I’ll have to try the lavender oil, that sounds really nice! I also enjoy walks but unfortunately getting dressed to go outside is a major event (more time seems to be spend in the mudroom than outside!). I can’t wait for summer!
    I love toddler hiding spots during hide and seek. I always bring a camera with me when I’m seeking. Finding the kids laying flat face down in the middle of the rug is my favourite. :)

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      Getting ready to go outside in the winter can be a challenge but I always tell myself, once we’re out there we’ll be happier!

      You must try the lavender in the play dough Shilo – it’s divine!

      I want to play hide-and-seek with a camera now too – what fun!

      • Shilo

        Where do you buy lavender oil?

        A got a great picture once, when my daughter was not quite two, of her “hiding” with her head behind a curtain. Just her head. Cuteness!

        • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

          Oh my goodness, that would be cute.

          I get my lavender oil from the health store. It’s usually $15-20 for a little vial but you only need a 3-5 drops per batch. We did peppermint at Christmas time (which is so “Christmas-like” and it’s great for headache relief but I found out – the hard way – that it’s also a stimulant… oops)!

          When purchasing oils, it’s always best to go with pure essential oils rather than the processed ones (it always indicates on the bottle if they’re pure EO).

  • Matthew

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for the shout out :-)

    I do agree about the music part…. music makes the world go around, it can make the world stop, or go faster. Music can remove everything or bring in everyone. Calming music, classical music, smooth jazz and even your stock standard nursery rhymes can bring a sense of peace into the daily (and usually pleasurable) chaos of reality with younger children.

    Dancing also is a big reliever of stress – especially when combined with a little controlled silliness. Wearing sunglasses and pretending to be rock stars with lots of air guitar actions, dressing up as ballerinas and twirling around the lounge room, wearing Daddy’s shoes and stomping like dinosaurs or giants all go a long way toward dancing away the stresses of the day.

    (and a glass of something relaxing after the kids have gone to bed also helps too).

    Thanks,

    Matthew.

  • Michelle

    I needed ALL of these today! Deep breathing, had to do that multiple times today. Between classroom issues, healthcare issues and all the rest of the issues in a day, this came in handy. Thanks for “calming me” down.

  • Jessica Dimas

    LOVE these ideas!!! I need you to come to my house like that show with the nanny who whips the parents into shape and gives them a whole new blueprint. I’m in desperate need of it. I love these suggestions, especially things like playdoh or having everyone take deep breaths like we’re blowing up balloons. Such a great way to calm EVERYONE down. Thank you!!!

  • Echo

    These are awesome ideas and I will definitely put some of these into action with my son. We are always working on finding the right coping skills for his stress and anxiety.

  • Tiffany

    My go to is coloring. I love to color. I actually have my very own coloring book and crayons. I know…I’m weird. It totally relieves my stress. And listening to music. A and I will have a dance party and it totally lightens things up.

    Great suggestions my dear!
    xoxo

  • Jaime D Buckley

    Love it Jennifer =).

    Good, simple and very effective suggestion.

    I love watching a movie together with popcorn when I’m really stressed out (and can’t think straight). Grab a blanket, pillows and then pop some yummy popcorn. Then I pick a movie that is NOT A MUSICAL. All is good.

    Also, gardening with the kids is a good one for me–at least when we had a garden. Loved picking fruit and their awesome questions why things grow…

    Now, you know if you want that ‘break time’ alone, you almost have it in hand.

    Hide and Go Seek…when it’s your turn to find them….don’t.
    (smirk)

    Oh, I love the music one too–but this is where there’s a trade off in my house. The kids like my music a BIT more than Kathi’s. So when we listen to music, we’re all bouncing around the house with Blue Man Group.

    Hey,….we all have different ways to relax.

  • Tamara

    Wonderful, wonderful. I don’t think my kids have much stress yet, if at all, but I do and I totally stand by these. I read with the kids or take them for a walk and music is usually my greatest relief! Yoga and deep breathing is pretty amazing too.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      My kids don’t have much stress but I have loads of it! Hence why I came up with this list of relaxing ways to de-stress while “with” them.

      I love yoga… and I recently discovered the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It has done wonders for the anxiety attacks I get every once in a while.

  • Tawnya

    LOVE these tips! I love the one about adding essential oils to play dough! I never thought of that, I even make my own homemade play dough all the time! :) I like the one about pretending to blow up balloons too!

    I am in desperate need for tips like this right now as Scarlett is in the thick of the “terrible twos” she has meltdowns and I don’t even know what to do/how to help her settle.

  • Maria

    This is a fantastic list! I would have to agree on Matthew–music is an awesome stress reliever, but coupled with dancing, it’s more so! My daughter and I love dancing to music, and I get so much more done because she’s occupied with the listening and dancing part (I usually jig along with her while I clean or put away laundry). Plus it’s extra exercise for me and baby! Thank you for sharing :)

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this list Maria! Exercise from dancing is great… my kids just go wild when we dance and it always ends up with tears and screaming LOL – far from stress-relieving in our household.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on child-friendly ways to relieve stress.

  • Kristy

    I love this list, Jennifer! I have yet to play with playdough so that is on my list next. We love listening to music, having tea parties, and coloring. It’s such a nice time to just have fun together. :) And that’s what makes my all the stress go away.

  • Latisha

    These tips are great. I especially like the links you shared. Will definitely try the “Yoga for Kids” DVD. Also liked the calming music weekly link. Was very interested in the Stay-at-home yoga because I am not a go to the Gym or Yoga class kind of gal, however I don’t think it is linking where you intended it to, you should check that link. Was also planning on doing a making playdough project with the kids this week. I love the cool tip about adding calming scented oil like lavender. Tweeted & Pinned. Blessings to you and thank you for sharing.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      Thank you for the head’s up on the Stay-at-Home-Yoga link! So weird… whenever I do a text link for that program, it gets messed up. It’s fixed now!

      Lavender oil in play dough is delightful!

      Thank you for pinning and tweeting Latisha! Blessings to you as well.

  • Emily

    You have great ideas on this list. Stay at Home Yoga looks great…the Mini Yoga Breaks look perfect for a quick stress reliever!

    I was shocked the day that I realized how relaxing it was to color with my girl. And fresh air does everyone good!!

    I would add saying a quick prayer. :)

  • Sarah @ GlamGranolaGeek

    You know, I think I am going to take your advice and check out those online yoga classes! I need help with destressing lately for sure, plus I’m just always sore, so I’m sure I could benefit from that on many levels! Thanks for sharing at the Ladies Collective Linkup!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

      The online yoga is amazing – I highly recommend it! She offers a 14 day free trial. I bought it a couple days into the trial because I loved it so much. Then she offered a deal a little while later to join their “Mastermind” group which has a FB group, periodic “classes”, and unlimited lifetime access to Stay at Home Yoga! I think I paid $60 to top up the membership but it’s definitely worth it. 2 – 8 week sessions at my local yoga studio would cost more than what I paid for my yoga subscription.

  • Charlee

    I love the balloon idea! I had never thought about this before, but it’s so true. You can’t just get away so you have to handle the stress with your kids present. What a great example for the kids!

  • Caryn

    I have become such a yoga fan, not just for me but for my 6-year old. When he was a baby, I did the DVDs. Now, we play this Yoga Spin game. I’m not sure it is distressing, but it does help us actually stretch and have fun together. It also teaches him to appreciate yoga.

  • Debbie

    Hi Jennifer, being able to de – stress (or recharge the batteries as I refer to it as) is difficult when you have young children. In fact I’m not sure it gets easier as the children get older, needs change.

    Coloring and reading books together were my favorites when my two were small. Now I find a run, walk with the dogs or a bike ride leaves me feeling refreshed and recharged. Failing that I potter around listening to music through headphones, just me, in my own little world, listening to nothing but my favorite tunes.

    Great post!

  • Cindy Hasko

    True. We have to unwind and de-stress. lol. It’s a must. The other day, I just felt uptight and on edge. I couldn’t figure out why. So, as soon as my husband got home, I put on my i-pod / ear buds and worked out for 45 mins on the elleptical and blasted my music in my ears. We have a work out room, so it’s easy for me to exercise at home. It gave me time to get lost in my music and unwind. I felt SO much better and more relaxed afterwards. So, yeah, music helps. It even helps while cleaning too. Last week, I put in the Taylor Swift cd and cleaned as it was playing. It helped a lot. Also, writing, coloring and/or colored pencils = just completely relax me. Whenever I am doodling or drawing, I fall into my own little world and I feel soooo relaxed. I think that is why I enjoy it so much. Going outside, out of the house, yes, helps a lot!!

  • Rebecca

    You simplify everything for me all the time. I have been trying to teach Dylan deep breathing but it hasn’t been sticking, he thinks I’m ridiculous. But the way you do it with your girls is genius! So simple, so effective, and yet it never would’ve occurred to me. Thank you! I can’t wait to use the balloon trick with Dylan!