Dial it Down: 5 Stress-Relief Ideas for Kids

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Between sports practice, camps and music lessons, our busy little bees can sometimes feel themselves flying in circles from all the activities. And let’s face it: so do the parents! Take a break from calendar overwhelm and let the kiddos get out of their head and into their hearts. Here are five easy ways to relieve some stress with a San Diego twist.

san_elijo_lagoon—natural stress relief

Photo credit: San Elijo Conservancy Facebook page

Nature Is Nurture
Simply walking in nature can bring some quiet and calm. San Diego lagoons are a good start for the smaller set. Leucadia’s San Elijo Lagoon is easy to get to and has a short half-mile hike, an easy little loop (in case kids tire). If you’re not quite up for a nature walk, simply set your visit for the first Sunday of the month. Learn about nature through a hands-on art projects, try a short hike, or picnic at the tables on the Observation Deck with a great view of the lagoon. With free parking and free activities, you will leave with the quiet calm of nature in your mind.

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 – 5 p.m.

2710 Manchester Ave.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Ca

Online: sanelijo.org/naturecenter.html

kids_meditating—stress free kidsPhoto credit: Monique Walsh

Head and Heart
Too much to do can leave a little one’s head spinning. Teaching kids how to get out of their head and into their heart can bring a gentle calm to whirling thoughts. The Kelee is a map to your heart that helps kiddos understand the difference between too much thinking in their head and the calmness of their heart. Kelee meditation is used at the UC San Diego Medical School. So if it works for medical students, it’s sure to help even the youngest of kids too.

Online: thekelee.org


Photo credit: Chris Palmer via Flickr Creative Commons

Go Fly a Kite
Flying a kite with your pint-size is a great way for everyone to relax in the fresh air. Even if you don’t want to stress of flying the kite yourself, San Diego has some great kite-watching spots including Mission Bay Park on a windy day (which is often). Bring a picnic and set up a spot on the grassy green, and fly or watch the kites. There’s also a great play area and plenty of bathrooms, free parking and trees with shade. Simple, low-key fun that will relax anyone.

Online: sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation


Photo credit: Monique Walsh

Almost Camping
Almost camping takes the family outside without too much fuss. Rent a beachside campsite at Carlsbad State Beach, pitch a little tent (yes, it can be the one you got for the living room), and have a fire pit completely to yourself. Grill hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie kabobs and s’mores for dessert. There’s a small store onsite in case you forget something; they even sell the firewood. Stay as late as you want, then pack it up for the comforts of home. You can reserve South Carlsbad State Beach campsites online for as low as $35.

7201 Carlsbad Blvd.
Carlsbad, Ca
Online: parks.ca.gov

kidnaturePhoto credit: Monique Walsh

Allow for Alone Playtime
A little alone time can be a great way for littles to decompress. Playing by themselves (even if it starts with a few minutes) helps our little bees begin to quiet themselves. You can start with a short time then lengthen as kiddos adjust. We like dollhouses and bat caves to help the little ones get creative and have less stressed.

How do you help your kids unwind in San Diego? What ideas do you have?

— Monique Walsh

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