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Protecting Keiki Mental Health During Back-To-School: Creating a Plan to Deal with Anxiety

Welcome back to the blog post series on protecting keiki mental health during and after the return to school. Today we are posting the third and final post of this series, which focuses on creating a plan for keiki to deal with stress and anxiety. If you missed it or need a refresher, check out Part 1 of this series on promoting mental health at home, and Part 2 on identifying and addressing keiki stress and anxiety.

Part 3 Creating a Plan to Help Keiki Deal With Anxiety

It is likely that unexpected events that cause keiki stress will occur from time to time. With this in mind, it is helpful to have a plan for what to do when keiki are experiencing elevated levels of stress and anxiety. What works best for one keiki may not work well for another, so it is important to try out different strategies to determine what works best. Here are some suggestions for activities that can help keiki cope with stress:

Artwork by Yuko Green
  • Try yoga. Yoga Ed. has almost 50 online yoga classes geared towards keiki that are each 15 minutes or less. Research has shown that children with symptoms of anxiety who participated in a Yoga Ed. program saw an improvement in their “emotional and psychosocial quality of life” compared to children with symptoms of anxiety who did not receive this programming.
  • Explore this “Calm Room” with over 60 activities such as virtual piano, meditation, Tai Chi and dance videos, as well as many other suggestions for finding a sense of calm.
  • Check out The Coping Skills for Kids Workbook with over 75 activities to handle stress and anxiety including calming, distracting and active techniques. The workbook was developed by a licensed mental health counselor based on her experiences dealing with mental health in schools and at outpatient mental health clinics.
  • Step outside for a walk or just spend some time in nature.

Different coping skills are useful depending on the situation, so developing a toolkit with many different coping skills is useful. Itʻs important for parents to try out various strategies with keiki to determine which strategies work best and when to use them!

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