How to Teach Children Stress Management Skills

We can teach children stress management skills. This way, they’ll be able to manage their emotions effectively.
How to Teach Children Stress Management Skills

Last update: 29 June, 2020

Stress affects adults and, unfortunately, it also affects many children. Our pace of life has increased significantly in recent years. For this reason, it’s very important to  teach children stress management skills.

It’s important for adults to know how to manage their stress, but teaching children stress management skills is even more important.

Knowing how to prioritize, manage our time, and rest are all fundamental in the prevention of stress. If children don’t learn these skills, they may become overwhelmed. For this reason, it’s important to teach them strategies to help them deal with stressful situations. This way, they’ll feel better and know how to cope with their problems.

Identifying the source of stress in your child, what’s causing it, and what steps to take are essential things that will help them relax.

What causes stress in children?

Too much work, a fast-paced life, and an overload of responsibilities lead to stress both in children and adults. However, many other factors can raise your stress levels. Noise and all sorts of environmental saturation and an excess of stimuli competing to get your attention also lead to stress.

A stressed out boy.

For children who tend to be more susceptible to noise and other physical stimuli, everyday stressors are often amplified and this makes their downtime even more important. School and extracurricular activities, the pressure to excel and succeed, changes in their routine, as well as family conflicts cause stress in children.

You should also keep in mind that limiting physical activity in children won’t help. Moreover, a child who doesn’t exercise misses out on a great way to release stress. In this regard, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children exercise for at least one hour every day. Not doing so harms their physical and mental health.

Signs of stress in children

The signs of stress in children are subtle and even confusing in some cases. They include stomachaches, headaches, and sudden behavior changes. You may also notice mood swings and sleeping problems, as well as difficulty concentrating in school.

In addition, if a child experiences major routine changes such as moving to a different place or the arrival of a new family member, their parents should pay special attention to how they affect them. It’s not hard to identify possible symptoms of stress in children if you pay attention. In addition, keep in mind that problems at school or at any other place where they spend time can also stress them out.

Keys to teaching children stress management skills

A typical child doesn’t quite understand that what they’re dealing with is stress. They just know they feel sad, exhausted, angry, or anxious. Experiencing stress may be new to them and they most likely don’t know what to do with their emotions. This is why it’s important to help them understand what stress is, what causes it, and how to manage it.

To teach children stress management skills:

  • You have to earn their trust so they know they can talk to you about anything.
  • Also, you need to listen carefully and actively to what they want to tell you and what they want from you before offering suggestions and advice. This will make any advice you give a lot more valuable.
  • Encourage them to participate in activities that’ll allow them to let off steam. For many children, it’s a lot easier to talk about their problems in active situations, especially those that favor relaxation. Non-competitive and creative activities, a walk through the countryside, or even just baking cookies are all great ways to relieve stress.
  • Encourage aerobic exercise and activities that induce relaxation. But also encourage downtime and relaxation.
Children meditating.


A recent study published in the journal Psychology Research and Behavior Management states that yoga and mindfulness meditation at school can help children manage stress and anxiety.

These activities helped improve many children’s quality of life significantly. Therefore, you shouldn’t  teach children stress management skills through just emotional and creative activities. You should also teach them that channeling their emotions through their body will enhance their well-being.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bazzano, A., Anderson, C., Hylton, C., & Gustat, J. (2018). Effect of mindfulness and yoga on quality of life for elementary school students and teachers: results of a randomized controlled school-based study. Psychology Research And Behavior ManagementVolume 11, 81-89. doi: 10.2147/prbm.s157503
  • Jewett, J., & Peterson, K. (2002). Stress and young children. Champaign, IL: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.
  • Organización Mundial de la Salud. (2010). Recomendaciones mundiales sobre actividad física para la salud. [Ginebra].
  • Tufnell, G. (2005). Stress and reactions to stress in children. Psychiatry4(7), 69-72. doi: 10.1383/psyt.2005.4.7.69

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.