UW Health Kids: Expert recommends stress management techniques for kids this summer

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MADISON, Wis. – The pandemic has created a lot of stress for parents and children.

Children today are said to have high stress levels and to help them take a break, the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to try different stress management techniques with their children.

With summer on the way and more free time for children, a UW Health Kids expert thinks summer is a good time for families to try things like mindfulness and mind-body therapies like meditation or yoga, which could help prevent physical and mental health problems. this can happen if the stress is left untreated.

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s awareness and consciousness into the present moment, and a way of acknowledging one’s thoughts and feelings. Yoga is a technique that combines physical postures, meditation and regulated breathing to focus the mind and body. These practices can lead to important rest for the mind, body, and spirit, according to Dr. Mala Mathur, pediatrician and mental health expert at UW Health Kids.

“These activities benefit both parents and children and can be potentially effective therapy for children struggling with emotional, mental, physical and behavioral issues,” she said. “I highly recommend families try them this summer as it can improve your mood and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

According to Mathur, yoga can help children learn to live in the moment, focus on the task at hand, and deal with problems peacefully.

“Yoga offers a release from today’s fast-paced, cutting-edge world,” she said.

Some research has even shown that yoga provides benefits for those who struggle with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, academic performance, sleep, behavioral issues, and mental illness. eating disorders, she said.

“Just teaching kids to stop, focus, and breathe could be one of the greatest gifts you give them,” Mathur said.

Meditation tips

  • When teaching children about meditation, the appropriate length and frequency of meditation may vary by age. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
    • Preschoolers: a few minutes a day
    • Elementary school children: 3 to 10 minutes twice a day
    • Teenagers and adults: 5 to 45 minutes per day or more depending on preference
  • Try to incorporate deep breathing into your bedtime routine. It can help children relax for the night and facilitate meditation when other situations arise.
  • Remind elementary school students and teens to take a few deep breaths before answering a tough question in school, taking a test, or before an athletic performance.
  • As young children learn to manage strong emotions, deep breathing can be part of the process, especially before and after breaks.

A recorded interview with Mathur is available.

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