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Parents and Stress: Stress Relievers You Can Do With Your Children

Reduce Stress In Both Of You!

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Updated May 14, 2011

Parents and Stress: Stress Relievers You Can Do With Your Children

Sitting quietly and enjoying nature can relieve stress for parents and children.

While time spent with children can be fun and fulfilling much of the time, it’s no secret that parenting can be stressful. (In fact, parents may face an increased risk of depression because of the unique stresses of parenting.) While lifestyle factors play a role in stress, and if you’re a parent you need to be mindful of self care to stay at your best, it’s also important to have several stress relievers you can practice with your children (so you’ll actually have time to do them regularly) so you can relieve stress while occupying and enriching their experience at the same time. The following are some great stress relievers you can generally practice while caring for children:
  • Drawing: Kids generally love to draw, but expressing oneself artistically can be great for adults, too! The next time you’re feeling stressed, get out some crisp new crayons (or even your ratty old ones) and create beautiful pictures with your kids. You can work through your feelings in an abstract way and create something beautiful in the process, and your children can create their own beauty.
  • Walking: You can enjoy the benefits of exercise and let your children enjoy the scenery (or exercise along with you) by walking with them. You can put them in a stroller if they’re very small, or let them ride a bike or scooter next to you if they’re bigger. (Or, for a less brisk, more meandering walk, let them just walk with you.) This is a great one because it gets you both outside, enjoying nature (or the view of some nice buildings), and away from most frustrations and responsibilities. (If your little ones don’t want to sit quietly in a stroller and enjoy the scenery, you can bring a cup of Cheerios or another small snack to occupy them.)
  • Blowing Bubbles: This one can keep your little ones happy, giving you a break, and can take your mind off of what’s stressing you if you let it. There’s something almost meditative about watching the bubbles drift up, and there’s real joy in watching the wonder in the eyes of small children enjoying the sight of bubbles, or the playfulness of slightly older children racing to pop them.
  • Enjoying Music: Music has some extremely useful stress relief properties, and can provide fun opportunities to bond with your children as well. You can sing or dance together and blow off steam, or just relax and enjoy listening. Keeping music on in the background throughout your day can keep you and your children in a more peaceful mood, or get you into a more playful one, depending on what you play.
  • Social Support: Doing fun things with friends and including your children (and theirs) can supply you with a supportive social outlet, and your children with play dates and opportunities to create friendships and learn social skills. (Most moms are well aware of the importance of having other ‘mom’ friends, but sometimes we get so busy and overscheduled that we forget to nurture these relationships and draw on this stress reliever when we need it most.)

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