How Creative Outlets Help Kids Cope with Stress Amid a Pandemic


Pandemic = Stress


What we had all hoped would be a short-term lockdown has proven to be a nearly year-long, anxiety-ridden pandemic full of ever-changing restrictions, regulations, and lifestyle changes: leaving us struggling to adapt to the new normal of social distancing.


With all the aspects of our lives that have been affected - finances, relationships, jobs, family structure - it is no wonder that so many of us are left feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. We as humans don’t thrive amidst uncertainty, lack of routine, and reduced social support.


It’s a well-known fact that too much stress can have negative impacts on both our mental and physical health, and the same applies for our kids too.


Signs of Stress


Stress can manifest itself in many ways. Some of the most common ways are:


  • Avoidance of favorite activities

  • Change in sleeping/eating behaviors

  • Difficulty with attention and concentration

  • Excessive irritability or “acting out”


During these hard times, it is more important than ever to recognize the detrimental effects stress can have on our bodies and minds, and be especially mindful of our children’s feelings and emotions as they too cope with the many changes happening in their worlds due to the pandemic.


One of the ways we can help kids manage their stress is to facilitate healthy coping habits. Creative outlets are a great way for kids to shake (or sing or draw) off any feelings of anxiety or isolation.


Creative Outlets for Kids


Dance


Movement makes our bodies happy. Any type of physical activity releases the neurotransmitter, endorphins, which serve to alleviate stress. Incorporating dancing into your kid’s daily routine is a fun way for them to get more exercise and receive all the natural feel-good chemicals that help them feel calmer and more relaxed.


Dance allows kids to express themselves and share emotions that increase their sense of community and connection, especially when they can dance with their friends. It’s a natural form of human expression that is especially useful and beneficial during difficult times. Kids need a chance to let loose and get silly!


Music


Music is such a powerful tool when it comes to stress management. In fact, early humans engaged in music as a bonding activity to encourage social cohesion; this kind of group cooperation is exactly what allowed us to survive and flourish as a species. So, it’s no surprise that we’re hardwired to respond to music.


Some of the hormones released while we listen to or create music are dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. All of these have been proven in studies to alleviate stress and anxiety, as well as decrease feelings of loneliness and depression.


We encourage families to make music a natural and everyday habit. Mr. D’s Music Club offers plenty of programs that will help your kids get engaged and inspired by music - all the while keeping it fun and light-hearted!


Art


Another great creative outlet for stress relief is art. The best part about using art to manage stress is that there is no level of skill required. Art has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, so much so that an entire discipline of art therapy has been developed.


Art not only allows kids to express themselves, but it provides them with a distraction from potentially stressful situations/thoughts and instead redirects their focus to thoughts of positivity and inspiration. Practicing art encourages mindfulness as kids are absorbed in the present moment and focused on the creative task at hand.


Want to help your kids unleash their creativity and quiet their busy minds? Sign them up for one of our Art Space programs!


Let’s Move More, Create More, Play More… and Stress Less


One of our goals here at Mr. D’s Music Club is to cultivate healthy habits and skills that kids can continue to use all throughout their lives - in good times and in bad.


It hasn’t been an easy year for us, and our kids are no exception. Our December program is chock-full of creative opportunities for your kids and registration is now open!


Please visit our Creative Spaces for more information.


We’d also love to hear from you! Please feel free to share how you and your household are staying creative in the comments below.




Sources:


https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/managing-stress-during-the-covid-19-pandemic


https://www.osfhealthcare.org/blog/how-to-manage-stress-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/


https://countrysideymca.org/about-us/news/3-ways-dance-classes-can-relieve-your-childs-stress.html


https://www.nationalgeographic.com/family/2020/11/music-might-decrease-kids-stress-coronavirus/#close


https://www.nm.org/about-us/northwestern-medicine-newsroom/nm-news-blog/power-of-music-to-cope-with-covid-19


http://happysciencemom.com/creativity-can-calm-children/