Stress Management for Tweens: Start Slow
From soccer practice to homework to hanging out with friends, your tween’s schedule is go, go, go. Chances are, her inner self is just as busy. Between school obligations, extracurricular activities, and social media, there is less and less “downtime,” even for kids.
Downtime is very important for development. Children get to know themselves not only through activity but also through relaxation and exploring their inner world. Knowing how to find stillness is also an important part of managing feelings that might otherwise become overwhelming. It also reduces stress and anxiety.
Consider introducing your child to meditation. Children tend to take to it fairly quickly, as they are less fixed in their ways than adults. Start slow. Five minutes of sitting quietly each day and focusing on breathing can improve a tween’s well-being. Start by creating a quiet environment (turn off those cell phones!). Close the drapes, or go to a quiet space outside. Guided meditation material is available at sites like FragrantHeart.com. But it’s okay to take a more relaxed approach — after all, that is the goal. Sit comfortably and breathe naturally. Close your eyes and concentrate on the breath as it enters and leaves the body. If distracting thoughts appear, refocus on the breathing. Afterward, discuss with your tween how the meditation made you both feel.
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