A checklist for helping kids cope

Posted March 11, 2009, at 6:26 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:02 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A free lecture on “How to Help Your Kids Cope with Stress and Worry” will be given at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Bangor Public Library.

The speaker will be Robin K. Sprague, who co-wrote with Dr. Lawrence E. Shapiro “The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids.”

“Kids may not talk about their worries in the same way as adults, but they suffer just the same,” Sprague said. “Stress and worry take a toll on the mind and the body. And like adults, kids seem to have more stress now than ever.”

One of the 55 activities included in the book offers a form that a child can fill out with grown-up help — things that cause stress, the time of day they occur, and things to do to reduce the stress.

Another page asks the child, “Where Do You Feel Stress?’’ with an accompanying outline of a person. Children can color the places where they feel stress.

“Kids have a different set of worries,” said Sprague, who added that she has seen more than her share of families in distress. “Kids worry about ‘kid things’ like being bullied or doing well on a test or making the basketball team, and they worry about adult things too. They worry if they hear their parents fighting and arguing, they worry when they hear that a parent has lost a job, and they worry if a parent or grandparent is ill.”

The activities in the book are intended to help youngsters become more self-reliant and keep a positive attitude.

A chapter on correct breathing offers activities: Spell Your Name with Belly Breaths, How Great I Am, My Favorite Things and Breathing Happy Thoughts.

Other chapters cover guided imagery, mindfulness, yoga for kids, relaxing through art, playing to relax and laughing to relax.

Activities range from Helping Children Go to Sleep and Getting Rid of Stomachaches to Memory Beads and A Kaboodle of Silly Words.

“It doesn’t really matter what kind of relaxation technique you practice at home, as long as you do it consistently,” Sprague said. “We want parents to build relaxation and stress reduction techniques into their child’s daily life, because we know that this will help them both physically and mentally throughout their lifetime.”

And if parents end up building those same techniques into their lives, so much the better.

“The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook for Kids” retails for $16.95 and is published by Instant Help Books, a division of New Harbinger Publications.

Books will be available for purchase and signing at Sprague’s talk, or may be obtained from www.parentchild411.com.

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