We live in stressful times. If you turn on the news for only a moment, you will find stories that raise your blood pressure. Although we try to protect our children from the world’s stressors, frustrations from the outside have a way of getting into our homes. The pandemic alone shows how sensitive our family lives are to worldwide stressors. To help your family overcome difficult times, you should learn these coping strategies to help your child deal with stress.
This list will give you a few options to try. Give them a go with your child to see which ones are the most helpful. You may find that all of these are helpful, or maybe just a few. However you choose to calm your child, make sure your approach comes from a place of patience, understanding, and compassion.
It is vital to teach your child calming techniques so they know how to respond if they start to feel overwhelmed or stressed. There are many easy-to-learn approaches to calming down that you can teach your child.
- Take a Deep Breath: A popular technique is teaching your child to put one hand on their belly and another on their chest while taking deep breaths. It could make a real difference in their lives. This technique will help them be more aware of the present and less concerned about the future.
- Imagine a Favorite Place: Teach your child to picture their favorite location in the world. It could be a beach, a forest, or maybe even your backyard. Ask them to use their senses. What does it look like? What does it smell like? By focusing on positive emotions, they can overcome their stress.
- Pick a Number: Counting is an excellent way to relieve stress. Depending on your child’s age and math capabilities, they could relieve stress by counting back from 100, counting up by twos, or by counting down from 10.
Talk About It
Your child’s inability to verbalize their feelings could further confound their stress. Children’s emotions usually are more complex than their vocabulary. You should take the lead in starting a dialogue because your child likely won’t do it themselves. Talking about the issues is one of the best coping strategies to help your child deal with stress. Even asking a few open-ended questions can get the ball rolling in a positive direction. It could even be as simple as asking them about their day. Ask them about the roses, or good things, as well as the thorns, bad things.
Children may struggle to handle these questions face-to-face. Talk to them when you are in the car or doing some activity that breaks eye contact. If your child still struggles to get their words out verbally, you can start a journal. The two of you can share your thoughts by writing entries back and forth.
Tweak Their Schedule
It can be difficult to admit it, but you may be the cause of much of your child’s stress. Most parents want the best for their children. For many, that means dance recitals and early ACT tutoring, soccer practice, and art classes. With all the hustle and bustle, you must take the time to see if your child enjoys their schedule. Do they still like their activities? What can you do to simplify things? A lot of children thrive with structure, but they also need space to breathe.
Find Healthy Distractions
Sometimes, you can tweak your child’s schedule and drastically improve their stress levels. Other times, however, those changes cannot deter them from feeling stressed. For instance, when their grandmother is ill. Even if your child has fewer tasks to complete in a day, they may be thinking about those disturbing, stressful thoughts during their downtime. When their stress becomes that invasive, it’s time to introduce healthy distractions. Some options to consider include:
- Make Them Laugh: So the saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” When you sense your child is under too much stress, lighten the atmosphere with some funny jokes, silly Would You Rather questions, or do a Mad Libs together.
- Volunteer: It is important to teach your children early that helping others can do wonders to their sense of well-being. Hold some time each week to volunteer, or maybe do random acts of kindness. Making an impact on other people’s lives will help distract them from their concerns.
- Play a Game: Have a little time set aside to play their favorite board game. A healthy distraction like a game will remind them of the potential for fun in the world.
The natural world can do wonders for limiting stress. When people are in nature, they remove themselves from the stressors of maintaining a modern life. If your child is anxious, perhaps a camping trip can help them reset their batteries. However, there is no need to be so elaborate all the time. A walk through a nature preserve, an afternoon looking at flowers, or a game of catch can positively change their perspective.
Model Healthy Coping Strategies
Children pick up on their parents’ behavior more than one might think. In truth, you are their first teachers and role models. You should pay attention to how you respond to stress because your child could mirror that behavior.
What are your approaches to stress? Do you go to the gym? Do you knit? Whatever your approach, make sure your child understands that you engage with those activities to reduce stress. You can tell your child, “I’m so stressed, I really need a break to do some reading.” Though your child may not adopt your coping techniques, they will understand that there are certain activities a person engages in to relieve themselves of anxiety.
Children experience stress like adults. But unlike grown-ups, kids don’t have the emotional maturity to understand the cause of their reactions. As a parent, it’s your job to help guide them through their difficult emotions so that those feelings don’t fester and result in misbehavior. Unchecked stress can lead to bad habits, like thumb or finger sucking. If you want to learn how to stop finger sucking, look to TGuard. We sell the finest thumb sucking prevention devices.