In a recent article in Pyschology Today, the author suggests the following technique to reduce children’s stress:
“The best way to reduce stress quickly is by engaging one or more of your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing and/or energizing to you. For example, if your child is a visual person he can relieve stress by surrounding himself with uplifting images. If he responds more to sound, you may find a wind chime, a favorite piece of music, or the sound of a water fountain helps to quickly reduce his stress levels.”
Well…he got the first part right.
Each person de-stresses differently at different times, but I don’t think it is up to parents to find and/or provide the perfect thing – which is just as likely to be wrong as right.
One of the reasons we need rich and diverse play opportunities for children – in schools and neighbourhoods – is precisely to provide children with multiple options for de-stressing – according to their own inchoate but perceived moment-to-moment needs, whether that means calming down or ramping it up – alone or with others. There is no possibility of self-regulation without a self to work with and that has to be discovered through interactions with “the other” – other persons, other things, the “not-me”. We know ourselves through what we are not. There are so many wonderful paradoxes in the becoming and being human.
We can try to social engineer human beings. Indeed we must develop systems and common ethical understandings, but for a few hours a day, can we allow ourselves to nurture the mystery that we all – ultimately – are?
Here is the whole article: