How to Cope with Stress: Stress Relief Strategies for the Whole Family

A mother and daughter in a hammock
Days are busy. Work, school, and activities can sap our time and energy. Below are some simple ideas for relieving family stress.  


  1. Sensory Play 
  2. Movement 
  3. Outdoor Time 
  4. Meditation and Guided Relaxation 
  5. Yoga 


Sensory Play: Good old-fashioned, simple materials such as water, sand, and play dough are long-time favorites of children. Sensory play is also an integral part of quality early childhood education.  
Movement: Regular exercise has many benefits—it builds strength and cardiovascular health, releases endorphins, and improves sleep, all of which lead to decreased stress and anxiety. So, join your children in a quick game of tag or a living room dance party when you’re short on time; shoot hoops, take the dog on a long walk, or find a family-friendly bike trail when you have more time for longer stress-relieving outdoor recreation. 
Outdoor Time: Even if it is only for five minutes in the backyard, spend a bit of time each day outside aside from the hustle and bustle of commuting from the office or the child care center. Time in nature can reset and recharge each family member after a hectic day indoors. 
Meditation and Guided Relaxation: Relaxing and controlling breath, body, and mind is something that children can learn to gain control in stressful situations. The benefits gained from short meditation exercises will carry over into multiple areas of life. Try brief meditation or mindfulness exercises before nap or bedtime.  
Yoga: The combination of movement, strength building, stretching, and a focus on breath, makes yoga a terrific stress reliever for the entire family. It helps to build flexibility, coordination, and body awareness, and create a sense of calm and relaxation that extends beyond the experience. Keep it short and simple for children.  
Though it may seem next to impossible some days, try to participate in at least one or two activities you enjoy on a regular basis. It may help to schedule this time in your day, just as you would a doctor’s appointment or play date. By making time for what you enjoy—and sharing it with those you love—you will feel more joy amid the craziness of everyday life…and so will your children. 



Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
A mother and daughter in a hammock