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Why This is Important

In young children, stress can impact behavior, feelings, and development. By helping your child learn positive ways to handle stress, you can make sure your child is developing happy, healthy, and positive daily habits.

Quick Activity

Take a walk outside to reduce stress. Take a brown lunch bag or grocery bag with you for your child to pick up things that may be of interest to him or her. Have your child notice the different textures. Talk about using your senses with the items, such as: How does it smell or feel? What do you hear during the walk? Lie down and notice the clouds. Discuss the shapes of the clouds, how they are moving, and how they change when they move.

More Activities and Games

Designate a location in your home as a “cozy corner” when your child needs to destress or settle down if frustrated. It is not meant for time-out. Fill the “cozy corner” with comforting items for your child. Discuss the purpose of the “cozy corner” and that is used to help keep calm and feel better. Give examples of when it could be used. Make sure your child has quiet time when in the “cozy corner.”

Make a card with a grid by drawing lines on a piece of paper to make 12 squares (4 lines down and 3 across). In each square, write things your child can do when stressed or needing to calm down. Have your child point to a square. You read the activity and then do the calming activity together. Examples include:

  • Name five things you like about yourself
  • Take a walk
  • Do a yoga pose and hold for 30 seconds
  • Think of your favorite place
  • Take deep breaths
  • Look at a favorite picture book
  • Tell someone five things you like about them
  • Listen to favorite music
  • Hug a stuffed animal

Pour clear glue or clear oil (baby or mineral) into an empty plastic bottle until it is ¾ full. Add ¼ cup warm water. Add glitter, confetti, colored beads, or colored rubber bands. Close the lid tightly. Shake the bottle with your child and watch the items move slowly in the bottle. The sensory bottle can be used as a calming tool with your child when he or she seems stressed or agitated.