Healthy Stress Management Techniques

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We’ve probably all heard the old saying, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Meaning that whatever our children see us doing, they will be likely to do as well. Have you ever had a moment when your child said or did something exactly like someone in the family? Maybe it was pretending to talk on the phone or pretending to cook dinner for the family at their little kitchen. 

Social learning theory suggests that people learn through experience, but also through observation and modeling (Bandura, 1977). This tells us that when it comes to parenting it’s important to model healthy ways to deal with stressful situations because our children are watching and learning. Modeling healthy behaviors and responses to various situations allows your child to develop those healthy responses. Stressful situations are a part of life that we all encounter at one time or another. It’s important to develop a healthy response to stress so that it does not affect our physical or mental health. 

Stressed? Try these: 

  • Deep breathing exercises – This is sometimes called “belly breathing” as deep breathing encourages people to breathe in deep through the nose so that our lungs can fully expand (taking in oxygen) and the lower belly rises. It’s followed by an exhale slowly through the mouth.
  • Meditation – This can be as simple as taking 5 minutes to close your eyes, breathe, and focus on the sounds around you. You may want to try playing sounds of nature in the background. 
  • Physical activity – Go for a brisk walk or try a fun dance workout with your child.
  • Get outside – Go for a walk at the park or play a game with your child outside. Getting out into nature can help relieve stress. 

Another healthy response we can model is to state how you are feeling in situations such as when a bad storm is passing through or if the power goes out. This models for your child how to verbalize their feelings rather than letting them become overwhelmed by them. It also helps them understand that it’s okay to have various feelings in different situations (such as being nervous before the first day of school). 

This month’s Growing Together newsletter has several great articles (including topics like dealing with stress) for parents of young children as well as a calendar of activities. Many of the activities are sure to spark some great conversation, which we know is important for language development in young children. 

Click the link below to download your pdf of the newsletter:

GT News March


  1. Bandura A. Social learning theory. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. (1977). [Google Scholar]
  2. Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response. Harvard Health. (2020, July 6).