Many of us look forward to having extra time to spend with our children and families, but we are often faced with busy weeks and even busier weekends.
However, keep in mind that spending time together doesn’t always have to be a big to-do.
Consider the following activities as both great ways to spend time together and relieve stress:
- Take a deep breath. Focus on controlled breathing with your child. Not only does this sort of mindful breathing have the potential to lower stress hormones, but it is also an effective way to teach preschoolers important life skills, including self-control and self-awareness. Get started with this “Breathing Buddies” activity from the Center for Healthy Minds.
- Get moving. Whether it’s taking walks around the neighborhood or running around the backyard or park with your children, regular exercise releases hormones that combat stress and promote feelings of well-being.
- Make time for a massage. Nothing says serenity like time spent with soothing music, calming scents and a stress-relieving massage. Great for parents, massage is also a fun and relaxing thing to do with children — even babies!
- Use indoor voices. Children are not the only ones who benefit from learning to use indoor voices. Raised voices raise stress levels, so teach and model how to calmly express thoughts, feelings and frustrations instead.
- Play. Find a game that you can play together — whether it’s rolling a ball with your baby, playing make-believe with your preschooler or playing a board game with your kindergartner. Instead of playing to win, this playful parenting focuses on fun, helps develop social-emotional skills and builds relationships that help fend off stress.
- Be thankful. Make time to express gratitude. It’s as easy as dedicating time each evening to sharing something you’re thankful for. As young children grow and develop, they will gain the ability to identify and communicate their own examples, and your child will establish a meaningful, lifelong habit.
As this list suggests, doing small things together — including these simple stress-relieving activities — can be beneficial for the whole family.
Looking for more tips to help you navigate stress? Check out these ideas for letting go of parent guilt.