Best Stress Relief Toys For Kids
Between a global pandemic, an unprecedented economic crisis, and an uncertain back-to-school season, we’re all stressed, and kids are no exception. The difference is, unlike adults, kids often lack the language to articulate their stress and the skills to self-soothe. In addition to movement, talking with a calm and non-judgmental parent, and, if necessary, getting professional help, stress-relief toys can help kids express themselves and self-soothe.
Kids’ stress may manifest in different ways, says North Carolina-based psychologist Caroline Hexdall, Ph.D. — from irritability to trouble sleeping or refusing to complete normal tasks and activities. Psychologist Regine Muradian, the author of Franky and the Worry Bees, agrees: Stress in kids, she explains, can look like nail-biting, fidgeting, excessive playing with the hair, stomach pains, nausea, rapid heart rate, diarrhea, and shortness of breath.
Kids work through stress differently from adults, though, and toys can be an important tool in the stress-relief toolbox.
“Playing is the language that children really understand,” Hexdall says. “It doesn’t require a whole lot of in-depth thinking, it can be more spontaneous, and often when we’re playing, we may express ourselves in a less inhibited way. We really get a sense of how kids are feeling through play. We can kind of communicate our message to them in a way that it’s sort of speaking their language,” Hexdall says. Muradian adds that toys are “helpful for distracting the mind and redirecting stress and anxiety to the toy.”
There’s a big market for stress-relief toys and activities, from the classic stress ball to therapy dough (aka rebranded play dough), stress-relief colouring pages, and meditations. Hexdall says parents should choose stress-relief toys based on their child’s interests: Go with “whatever they’re drawn to. If it’s sports, maybe find a stress ball that matches the theme of the sport.”
Stress And Kids
Stress is difficult for kids, particularly those under the age of five. It can wreak havoc on their hearts, hearts, and minds. Those under four years old may not have the language to express their stress in a way that a parent can understand, and because of their emotional age, their response to stress is less predictable than that of an older child.
Under the age of six, their ability to communicate and understand stress decreases, making self-soothing and calming more difficult. What is Stress? Stress is a state of the body that involves physiological responses to a threat such as being in a scary situation, experiencing heat or cold, or exposure to a weapon.
There are numerous studies to support the link between childhood stress and heart disease. Stress changes the activity of the mitochondria, which can result in heart disease. Kids, in particular, are vulnerable to physical manifestations of stress. A 2007 study by the National Institute of Mental Health found a correlation between sleep disturbances and behavioural and mental health problems.
The journal Pediatrics reported a 2008 study of schools in Maryland and North Carolina that found that students stressed by reading about the Great Recession exhibited physiological stress responses and disrupted sleep patterns. Moreover, research by child psychologists finds that early childhood stress can lead to lifelong stress and anxiety disorders later in life.
Self-talk is a powerful tool for relaxation and for breaking through internal barriers that keep us stuck in a negative mindset, and stress can quickly turn to panic, anxiety, and fear. Many anxiety disorders are genetic, so although we can’t escape the effect of genes, we can modify the process by understanding how anxiety functions in the brain.
Kids should take advantage of these opportunities to talk about what’s happening. But avoid rambling, philosophical discussion; focus on just one thing at a time. The Psychology of stress sitting still, not moving, is highly stressful for humans. Although exercise and therapy, as well as the act of breathing, can help, children don’t have the physical skills or the patience to try them out on their own.
How To Identify Stress In Children
Even if you don’t experience periods of hyper-vigilance, you probably know when your kids are stressed. And it’s easy to identify when they’re tense: they’ll be restless, on-edge, have a fever, or have trouble sleeping. That’s one reason so many stressed-out parents choose toys that help calm kids.
You can tell if a toy is working by measuring how quiet it is. Loud toys won’t work as well with kids, but most can stay quiet enough to hear a reassuring parental voice or a gentle touch.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for determining whether or not your child is experiencing stress, but here are some clues to look for to tell the difference: Fatigue: Noticing that your child is exhausted from a long, intense day is a clear indicator that she’s under pressure. A reluctance to finish a project or take a test is a sign that she’s overwhelmed.
Noticing that your child is exhausted from a long, intense day is a clear indicator that she’s under pressure. A reluctance to finish a project or take a test is a sign that she’s overwhelmed. Tense Face: Children will hold their breath if they feel stressed, which is also a clear indicator that they are stressed. Children will hold their breath if they feel stressed, which is also a clear indicator that they are stressed.
While there isn’t an absolute standard, many therapists refer to two types of stress in children: acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress occurs suddenly and often results from sudden life changes (like getting married, moving to a new state, or losing a pet). Chronic stress, on the other hand, can be caused by ongoing or long-term difficulties in development, whether these be relationship or psychological problems, medical conditions, emotional trauma, or a combination of all of these.
When a child becomes upset it’s often because of some conflict between internal and external forces. For example, a 3-year-old who doesn’t want to clean up her toys could be frustrated with the toys themselves and/or with the idea of cleaning. And a 9-year-old who doesn’t like going to summer camp may be anxious about leaving the familiar setting and going to a new one.
Or, it could be a connection between internal and external forces. Your child may be stressed about a subject matter, like school or a job interview, that she can’t control, like the future of the country. Or she may be worried about her parents’ relationship and/or their finances. It’s also possible she’s afraid she can’t manage a task or may feel like she needs to win a race.
What Is A Stress Relief Toy?
The term “stress relief” can encompass a wide range of toys and other activities meant to help kids ease stress. Kids play and manipulate these toys differently based on their age and temperament, as well as the particular goal they’re attempting to achieve. And, no, sometimes you can’t find a new toy to keep your child happy and engaged all day.
These are toys that help kids calm down, soothe their feelings, relax, or encourage them to interact socially. How can stress relief toys be used? For kids who don’t have a language that can express their feelings, these are particularly useful. Sometimes, the toys themselves are only a tool for helping kids calm down and work through a situation.
Many of the toys are low cost, low-maintenance, and can be used by children of all ages. Some toys, like buttons, are already entertaining but are also full of therapeutic benefits. In his book The Wild Child: How to Handle Your Challenging, Engaging Kids, Arthur Pelham-Clinton explains how his own son, aged 6 at the time, couldn’t tell him what he was feeling.
Why Do Kids Need A Stress Toy
If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of these stress-relief toys, check out the results of a recent study at the University of Vermont. Researchers randomly selected 16 preschoolers from an urban center and offered them a warm blanket (a calming sensation, for example), a stuffed animal (to reassure), or a picture book.
For one of the control groups, there was no writing activity and no toy. When they were finished with the activity, the kids were tested on their behaviour. Surprisingly, even though all the kids were stressed, the toys didn’t help. Instead, reading with kids reduces their stress. That’s because while babies are very sensitive to touch, they get a lot less of it as they grow up. By the time they’re 10 years old, they’re the least touchy-feely kids in America.
The primary goal of stress toys is to help children relieve stress, and most stress toys target that purpose. Children ages 5-11 are most at risk for being “stressed out” by stressful situations. While many of them can handle stress well on their own, some can’t or are not old enough to articulate their stress in a way that allows for self-soothing.
Stress toys are beneficial to children because they can talk about their feelings, ask for help, and handle a situation without causing significant stress. Children need a stress toy if they are having difficulty falling asleep, or their school performance is suffering. They also need a stress toy if they are in a situation where they are bored or lonely, and can use the toy to keep themselves busy.
Stress-relief toys teach mindfulness and self-care. Stress toys encourage self-directed play and self-care. Children can focus on their breathing or release tension through games. Easy-to-follow breath techniques make the experience easy and rewarding. For parents, it encourages active engagement in calming their child. It also improves focus.
Distraction helps alleviate anxiety, and stress toys inspire a playful, and fun distraction while also teaching self-directed attention. In addition to providing active play, many toys encourage connection. They invite children to practice relaxing their bodies in one position, listening to music, and even just looking at bright colours. Lastly, it gives a sense of control. Many stress toys engage children in the mechanical ability of the toy.
Best Toys For Kids To Combat Stress
One of the best ways to combat stress in kids is to provide a sense of control and continuity in a time of flux. Give kids the tools they need to construct a sense of control and nurture independence. When it comes to stress relief toys, do not underestimate the importance of the small, abstract tasks of folding laundry and cleaning up after themselves.
They can also be therapeutic. Created by two sisters and inspired by their mother’s embroidery-and-flower craft of the same name, The Fun Flubber Toy is packed with comfort, a little silliness, and lots of creativity. Not only can kids stuff themselves silly on this colourful contraption, but parents, too, can use it to relax during everyday tasks.
Kids should not have to struggle with stress and worry. We encourage kids to play with learning toys. You’ll find a wide range of apps and brain games that are engaging, fun, and educational. By Brain Genius Toys – This is a mobile app that helps kids create their own stories and poems.
So instead of nagging kids about how many spelling words they’ve missed, you can simply use the app as a method of teaching! The app uses a series of colours and letters to guide kids through a sequence of games. The more games and poems they finish, the more colourful and customized their stories will be. The “Word4Sight” app is part of the Brain Geniuses’ social app. Brain Geniuses is a popular app for both preschool and grade school kids.
Just a few minutes of low-impact, aerobic exercise (such as jumping on a trampoline or moving a toy car back and forth) can reduce stress and anxiety, giving kids a sense of control and grounding. Finding fun ways to move is an easy way to decrease stress, so challenge kids to find activities they like and to make it fun.
Make sure you watch kids for signs of anxiety or frustration while doing these activities and use verbal praise (“Great job! You’re walking more confidently!”) if they make a game of doing a difficult task. Some toys will change in function and appearance to represent different moods and moods can change throughout the day. Imagine a box that can be stuffed full of puppies to create a smile or a hole filled with monsters to evoke a frown.
Acts as an essential stress reliever and a distraction tool for kids. Even just moving about helps relax their nervous system. Some active toys, like Hot Wheels cars, drums, or spinners, are great for active play that helps children with motor control, dexterity, and gross motor skills. Fidget spinners are another toy that offers many benefits.
They can help alleviate anxiety, promote healthy posture, and help stimulate brain activity, among other positive effects. Play-Doh is also great self-soothing because it’s non-toxic, made from high-quality, FDA-approved ingredients, and requires no cooking or baking. Expressing and maintaining a calm state of mind begins with being able to control one’s posture.
The most popular stress-relief toys tend to be play-based. The ubiquity of digital media may limit the incorporation of these toys in the home for now, but it doesn’t have to for years to come. To play games, ask for permission, or to draw, make drawings, and scribble.
While most of us don’t have the space for a dedicated “art” studio, these stress-relief toys are uniquely portable. Bead bracelets are the slowest (and best) stress relief toys for kids. Children can string bead beads onto one or more strings and wear bracelets around their wrists. Little ones tend to struggle to talk about their stress.
the heart of most stress-relief toys is a type of craft that helps kids learn a valuable new skill. For example, the Lego Friends Heartlake Town Police Station opens with a key for kids to unlock and then uses Lego bricks to build a miniature police station where customers can purchase products.
Not all stress-relief toys are toys, though. Some are toys with a creative twist, such as The Mind’s Eye Coloring Book, which helps a child focus on calming their mind and body. Other toys and activities use an open-ended tool set as a stress-relief tool. With The Traveling Color Maze, the child follows coloured lines through a maze and then, once inside, it’s up to them to decide which colour hallway they want to follow.
On a simpler note, some kids find sensory toys soothing and motivating. There are many in this category that is designed to work from the inside out: for example, a rocking, spinning, or floating toy will focus motion, and vibrations will increase mood, stimulation, and reward. In addition to toys that are stimulating on the surface, there are also toys that are meant to stimulate the senses or a specific kind of emotion.
Heart Play: There is a great range of dolls, animals, and friends to play with and make heart designs on.
Many children with autism and sensory integration disorders have difficulty with social interaction, which is one of the main stressors at school. Some children have trouble with their hearing, which causes them to be easily distracted by different sounds.
By using soft, colourful, and breathable sensory toys, your child can release their senses and return to their inner “spark.” There are many options for sensory toys for kids, ranging from weighted (AKA “stim”) stuffed animals to balls to puppets. Make sure your child always wears slip-on shoes to prevent tripping. Beats Music and singing are invaluable tools to calm down kids. Research has shown that music can lower stress and blood pressure in adults.
Why It Is Important To Find A Stress Relief Toy
Dr. Christina Aragon, head of Behavioral Science at Farr Institute of Health Economics, suggests that being able to communicate your stress helps to manage it. She explains, “Listening to your child’s story, asking questions that help your child make sense of things, and reassuring your child by saying it’s going to be OK when you’re not sure it is will help reduce stress.”
A stress relief toy doesn’t have to be complicated, nor do it have to take up much room. A simple three- or four-inch nail or potholder ring is an ideal stress relief toy. According to Aragon, “These materials can be expensive, but really, isn’t a toy what it’s all about?” Of course, the toy also has to be engaging and feel positive. We don’t suggest doling out money for stressful jewelry.
Stress and anxiety can have long-term effects on a child’s development and social well-being, and as a result, they can affect every aspect of the child’s life, from education to emotional health. Kids who are anxious and stressed are much more likely to be depressed as teenagers and suffer poor academic outcomes.
A study conducted by CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention found that kids who had been physically hurt also suffered from depression and anxiety disorders. A child who is feeling stressed out may benefit from playing with a stress-relieving toy or colouring book.
Whether it's an educational doll or the latest hottest educational video game, stress relief toys have been found to be the most popular toy among parents with children aged 5 and under. Why is this? Kids learn through play, and they need time to do it in order to learn.
The kids of today are often expected to do everything early and at a young age; then, before they can really understand what they're doing, their expectations are met and they are pressed into a mould. If you’re looking to unload the pressure and stress of the year, a stress relief toy can help.
Taking care of your child doesn’t have to involve giving in to every whim. Just like you, your child requires a set of life skills that make for a happier, healthier life. You can’t go wrong by choosing to provide the balance of autonomy and limits that works for your child.
As our schools slowly reopen, many families will be returning to home, where issues of stress and isolation tend to be the most prevalent. Many school-aged kids have far fewer language skills than their parents and might not be comfortable asking for help. Some kids even don’t have the confidence to raise the question of why they are stressed in the first place.
They simply will not talk about it. If your child is anything like mine, he is looking forward to a new school year and to putting the stress behind him. In order to relieve his stress and to help him succeed, you must be willing to become part of the solution.
I trust you enjoyed this article about the Best Stress Relief Toys For Kids. Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly.
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