Helping your child combat stress
Posted December 27, 2016
Stress is a part of everyday life for most people, children included. Of course, stress has a negative connotation, but it’s really just a natural reaction to the reality of existing in a large world. We’re not always going to be comfortable.
Children go through a lot of stress. They experience physical stress due to rapid changes in their growing bodies. And of course, they experience emotional stress when faced with new and strange situations. Since much of the world is new to a child, they encounter stressful situations quite frequently. Here is an article focused on eliminating school-related stress. Below are some ways you can teach your children how to healthily deal with stress at home.
Be a model
Being a parent, you’re no stranger to stress. Make sure your children see you handling stress well. When plans change, as they most certainly will, talk out your thought process: “Well, I didn’t plan on fitting that errand in today, but since we have to get it done I’ll move things around.”
Don’t allow stress to overwhelm you. Of course, you don’t want to hide your emotions either. If you need time to process, it’s perfectly acceptable to tell your kids: “How about you finish these crafts while I figure out how this change affects our plans, okay?”
You help your child combat stress by preventing unnecessary stress in your family’s everyday life. This will show them how to build a stress-reduced environment. You can do this by building up a routine, then showing how that routine can be flexible. For example, showing how every day has the same morning routine, but then Tuesdays differ because of appointments, and Wednesdays venture off even more on their own allows children to see that you can be organized in your schedule without being locked in place.
Stress grows as we let our minds dwell on it too much. Being active not only trains our bodies to handle physical stress better but also gives our minds more pressing things to consider. If you’re looking for easy, winter-friendly ways to get your kids moving, check out these hot tub exercises that can easily be performed during bath time. You can also look for interactive shows and movies that get your kids up and dancing!
No matter how you prepare, your child will encounter stress, and this will cause meltdowns. This isn’t a terrible thing. Stress is a part of life. It is important to prepare your child for stressful situations though, so it’s easier to walk them through them. For example, if you’ve recently moved, you can help them prepare for their new school.
If you’re welcoming visitors into your home for the holidays, prepare your children for the possibility they may get overwhelmed by more people than usual, and make a strategy plan. Set aside a quiet place where they can meditate, read or listen to music on headphones while they calm down.
No matter how much you plan, stress will happen. It’s important to provide outlets like mentioned above, in encouraging physical activity and providing quiet spaces. You should also make it clear that your child can always talk to you about their emotions. Research strategies used by child counselors to learn about positive coping suggestions. And of course, if stress becomes prolonged and overwhelming, consider seeing a therapist or counselor with your child for even more tangible suggestions. Be sure you research the certification requirements for child counselors to find a qualified counselor suited to your needs.
These are just a few ways you can reduce the amount of negative stress in your child’s life and equip them to handle the stress they do encounter. Do you have child-friendly stress relief techniques? Share in the comments!