Helping Your Child Cope with Stress
Do you feel that your child is trying to deal with stress in his or her life? Are you wondering how to help your child handle this and cope with this emotion? You may be dealing with stressful situations as well and children can pick up on this even when you try to hide it from them. They may also be feeling pressure at school or in activities they are in. There are various situations in a child’s life that can cause stress and it can be hard to avoid it, but learning how to cope with it is an important life skill.
As a parent, you want to help your child learn how to cope with and handle stress while also trying to help navigate when more stressful situations should try to be avoided. Some amount of stress can be motivating and help push people to continue to try to learn how to accomplish something, but too much of it for too long can be problematic. If your child is experiencing stress, talk to them about what is stressful and why they feel that it is. Try to make sure that there is not more than they can handle. If they are starting to withdraw from activities or experiences that they like or they are acting out more, this may be an indication that they are under too much stress.
If they are experiencing some stress and you feel that it is not too much, this is a great time to help teach them some coping skills. Determine what you think will be most useful for your child. Will they benefit from deep breathing? Will taking some time alone to do something they enjoy such as art or reading a book help? Do they need something active to burn of some of the nervous and anxious energy? Each child will need something that fits their personality so you may need to try out a couple of these and see which one works best. Also talk to them about how they are feeling after the various activities. Helping them to listen to their own body is also important so that they can learn to recognize how they are feeling and what is beneficial and makes themselves feel better.
If they are experiencing a stressful situation that is ongoing, help them figure out how to handle it in the moment This could be helping them learn how to think through the problem while it is happening or help them come up with alternative ways of handling it if this is an option. If they are a hard time with school, talk to them about what is making it difficult and help them determine what would make it easier. Is the material hard? Are they trying to work too quickly so they aren’t reading all of the directions? Do they need extra help such as finding a tutor? If they do need extra help, help them figure out how they want to handle the situation during school when they may be confused.
Stress can be positive if it is just the right amount to motivate your child to try harder and work to accomplish a goal as long as it does not make them feel defeated or cause them to give up. This can be a hard balance to try to find, but by talking with your child and helping them understand how they are feeling, this can be accomplished. If you feel that your child is experiencing too much stress and needs to work with someone to come up with some effective techniques, please reach out to me.