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Tips To Help Children Overcome Stress

If you see any of these symptoms of stress, take them seriously. They indicate that your child is experiencing changes and challenges which are beyond his coping ability. He likely is unable to verbalize the pressure he feels, so it's up to you to help him cope with the stressors.

Parents can help children feel confident and capable, as well as provide escape valves for stress buildup. Children can bounce back from stressful situations. They just need guidance and instruction in coping skills. Below is a list of ways you can help your child.

All Ages :
  • Be sensitive.
  • Protect your child from the stressor, if possible.
  • Show affection (e.g. hugs).
  • Spend time with your child.
  • Encourage stress-reducing activities (e.g. laughter, exercise).
  • Promote adequate rest.
  • Provide structure and routine.
  • Plan quiet time into each day. Simplify your child's schedule.
  • Offer nutritious meals.
  • Reassure your child that his reactions are normal, and that all children have pressures/stress.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Provide a spiritual base.
  • Help your child develop supportive friendships.
  • Give positive feedback often. Praise her accomplishments.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Be a good role model. Show positive stress-management skills.
  • Tell your child you will always be there... and then be there.


Young Child :
  • Offer crayons and paper so she can scribble or draw her feelings.
  • Provide security objects (e.g. blanket, stuffed toy).
  • Play games that help your child with stressor (e.g. peek-a-boo for separation issues).
  • Be silly. Tickle each other. Do things your child will think are funny.
  • Try having your child act out his feelings with puppets or stuffed animals.
  • Teach her to separate from the stress (e.g. count to 10, put herself on a time-out, listen to music).
Older Child :
  • Tell your child you have noticed something is bothering him.
  • Try "20 questions" if you are not certain what is bothering her.
  • Encourage role-play.
  • Provide markers and paper. Look for clues in his artwork.
  • Help her think through the consequences of her actions.
  • Teach relaxation techniques (e.g. deep breathing).
  • Be direct. Sidestepping an issue only makes the stress worse.
  • Watch a funny movie together, and laugh aloud.

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