We as mothers are very careful to protect and deflect as much as possible to guard our precious children against the difficulty of life, but sometimes its beyond our control and we are left feeling helpless. Being in Joplin dealing with "survivors guilt" and living in the aftermath of an EF5 tornado that wrecked a good portion of what was my normal routine I have wondered how my children must be feeling.
Life can bring stress wherever you live and sometimes you can't even know what is causing stress in your kids, especially as they grow older.
Yesterday my girls (4th and 5th graders) brought home a bag and I thought it was a great starting place to help kids have an outlet for their stress and anxiety. And since these are all items we usually have anyway, I would suggest putting one together to keep with your emergency kit for each of your kids.
Your Care Kit
This kit contains special items to help children cope with stress & anxiety they may be feeling. This kit is an effort of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks staff, churches & volunteers in the Springfield area.
How do I use the Care Kit?
You can use these items to help your child cope with stress using the basic tips below.
- Lotion: rub the lotion on your child's hands and/or feet. You can ask if they'd like to rub lotion on your hands too. Gentle hand or foot massage can be very soothing.
- Bubbles: ask your child to practice deep & controlled breathing by blowing the biggest bubble they can. Then ask them to blow as hard as they can, creating many small bubbles
- Play-doh: ask your child to squish the Play-Doh as hard as they can with their hands, letting it squish between their fingers. Then ask them to repeat using their bare feet. Finally, ask your child to mold an item that makes him/her happy and discuss the item.
- Crayons: You child can use crayons for creative drawing on blank paper or notebook paper. You can provide topics such as "something that makes you sad" or "something that helps you calm down." Discuss your child's drawing & answer their questions honestly.
- Journal, Notebook or Sketch Pad: these can be used for creative drawing with crayons or pens. Some children may like to journal about haw they are feeling. Tell your child he/she can choose to share parts of the journal or drawings with you. Focus on listening if they do share.
- Rubber Ball or Stress Ball: ask your child to squeeze the ball gently, followed by squeezing the ball very hard. Talk about how stress & anger have different levels, from small to very large. Children can squeeze or bounce their stress ball based on their level of stress.
- Stuffed animal: your child may enjoy sleeping with or carrying around a stuffed animal, even if he/she is an older child. These are also helpful for pretend play.
- Stickers: award your child with a sticker for completing on of these activities. Scented stickers allow children to use their sense of smell, which helps them interpret their surroundings.
- Fruit Snacks: chewing these gummies allow children to use their sense of taste & the hard chewing motions can be stress relieving.