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What Relaxation Exercises Help Children Cope with Anxiety?

Hi, I'm Jill!

I’m a mama-in-training of a highly sensitive son. I love yoga pants, dungeness crab season, and working from my San Francisco flat in my PJs. My mission? To help other mamas raise a thriving highly sensitive child without losing their ever-lovin’ minds!

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Ever experienced an overwhelming sense of helplessness as you witness your child grapple with anxiety? It’s a struggle shared by many parents who are on the journey of helping their children navigate through those big feelings. You’re not alone in this. You likely know that relaxation techniques can be helpful for children. But, what relaxation exercises help children cope with anxiety? We’ve got the answers you’re looking for. 

Let’s explore effective techniques that can teach your child to cope with their big feelings and find inner calm.

Highly sensitive young girl sitting criss-cross on her bed practicing calming breathing techniques

Understanding Anxiety in Children

Anxiety is often misconceived, particularly when it comes to kids. Although feeling anxious is a normal part of the human experience, persistent worry that affects daily life can be an indication of clinical-level anxiety in children.

A staggering one in every five children will experience some kind of clinical-level anxiety by the time they reach adolescence. These aren’t just butterflies in their stomachs before a big test or performance; this level of worry may persist for weeks or even months and can affect sleep patterns, appetite, concentration, and general mood.

The tricky part about anxiety symptoms is that they’re not always obvious. Some kids might become more withdrawn while others might act out as an attempt to mask what they’re truly feeling.

If your child is experiencing frequent worries that seem out-of-proportion to the situation at hand—think constant dread over school days or social situations—it could be indicative of an underlying problem. You know your child best. Trust those instincts if you think something’s off and seek help from professionals who understand these anxious experiences well.

Key Takeaway 

Understanding anxiety in children is crucial as it’s a common issue that can affect their daily life significantly. One out of five kids experience clinical-level anxiety by adolescence, and symptoms aren’t always clear. Frequent disproportionate worries could signal an underlying problem, so trust your instincts if you sense something off with your child.

The Importance of Relaxation Techniques for Children

Stressful situations are not only reserved for adults. Kids too have their fair share of anxiety-inducing moments, whether it’s peer pressure or flying on a plane for the first time. 

To help your child navigate through these anxieties, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization techniques come in handy.

By learning what relaxation exercises help children cope with anxiety, moms can build deep loving connections with their children. Remember that your role as a parent is not just about fixing problems but also helping your anxious child navigate through life’s stressors in a healthy way.

Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Relief

Breathing deep is more than just filling our lungs with air; it’s about building resilience against stressors that make your child feel anxious. 

By suppressing the body’s fight-or-flight response with slow, deep breaths, kids can build resilience against the things that make them anxious.

Flower and Candle Technique

Introduce your child to the Flower and Candle method, a simple yet effective relaxation technique. 

Tell them to picture inhaling deeply as if smelling a beautiful flower, then gently exhale, like softly blowing out a candle’s flame. 

Regular practice of this exercise can help your child understand how controlling their breath can lessen their quick, anxious heartbeats by allowing them to experience sensation of calmness in their body.

Pretzel Breathing Technique

Moving on from flowers and candles let’s take our imaginations somewhere more… twisted. Pretzel breathing isn’t just fun because of its quirky name but also because it combines controlled breathing with physical movement—talk about killing two birds with one stone.

To practice this technique, have your kid sit in a comfortable position before starting off taking deep breaths while twisting their arms into pretzel-like shapes. Here’s an easy-to-follow video demonstration

This technique is great for kids because it’s a little silly and keeps their body moving.

Sensory Tools and Techniques for Anxiety Management

Managing anxiety in children isn’t a walk in the park. But with the right tools, it can be more like a stroll through an adventure-filled playground. 

One of those key resources? Sensory tools. Items like stress balls or stuffed animals provide an engaging, tactile experience that distracts from overwhelming feelings.

The Use of Stress Balls

Imagine how nice it would be to let out all your tension by pounding a cushion (we’ve all experienced that). That release is what squeezing a stress ball provides – but without destroying any furniture.

Focusing on the physical act of squeezing allows kids to shift their attention away from their stress and channel energy into their hands instead of letting worry consume them completely.

This simple tool doesn’t only help manage emotional upheaval during moments of high anxiety—it also improves motor skills by strengthening hand muscles and enhancing dexterity—a double win.

Hand holding a blue stress ball

Guided Imagery and Visualization Techniques

Guided imagery and visualization techniques are powerful tools that can help your child navigate anxiety. They allow the mind to focus on calming, positive images rather than anxious thoughts.

The key to success with these techniques lies in helping your child imagine scenarios vividly.

Have your kiddo settle into a cozy position, either sitting or reclining. Now ask them to close their eyes and take deep breaths. Then take them through one of the following visualization techniques. 

Picturing Peaceful Scenery

A great exercise for beginners involves picturing peaceful scenery. Ask your kiddo to visualize themselves lying on soft grass under a clear blue sky watching clouds gently floating by just like feathers do when carried by wind. This technique not only helps focus but also slows heart rate promoting relaxation within minutes.

Moving further into guided imagery world let’s encourage our young explorers into favorite storybook landscapes. 

Whether they’re swinging through lush jungles with Mowgli or sailing across seas with Moana – anything goes as long as it brings joy & peace while reducing blood pressure. 

Finding Inner Strength Through Heroic Characters

Last but not least comes our superhero method where kids pretend to be their favorite heroic characters. This helps in building resilience as they navigate through anxiety by finding strength from within.

Remember, like any new skill, practice is key. Make sure your child practices these techniques regularly and soon you’ll see them managing stressful situations with newfound confidence.

Key Takeaway 

Relaxation exercises like guided imagery and visualization can be a lifeline for kids dealing with anxiety. From imagining peaceful scenes to exploring favorite storybook landscapes or channeling the strength of heroic characters – these techniques steer them away from fear towards calmness. 

FAQs in Relation to What Relaxation Exercises Help Children Cope With Anxiety

What are coping activities for children with anxiety?

Deep breathing exercises and guided imagery can help kids manage their anxious feelings. Sensory tools like stress balls also offer a physical outlet.

What relaxation techniques are best for anxiety?

The Flower and Candle technique or Pretzel Breathing technique can help reduce anxiety. Visualization techniques often work wonders too.

Why are relaxation techniques good for kids?

Relaxation techniques reduce stress in kids by triggering the body’s natural relaxation response. This helps them focus better, improves sleep quality and promotes overall mental health.


That was a deep dive into what relaxation exercises help children cope with anxiety. We’ve shared breathing techniques to tame the physical sensations of anxiety and visualization techniques for tranquility.

Sensory tools like stress balls came into play as well, offering a tangible way to channel anxious energy.

The truth is simple: while coping with anxiety can feel like an uphill battle, there are resources available – practical strategies to turn challenging moments into opportunities for personal growth.

Remember this journey next time you see your child struggle; know that resilience is built one deep breath at a time. With these tools at hand, they’re better equipped than ever before!

What Relaxation Exercises Help Children Cope with Anxiety?

Jill Gilbert

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