Stress is a normal part of life, but too much can make you feel anxious and worried. It can also lead to feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration. If your child feels stressed, they must know what to do about it. That way, they'll be able to handle any problems that come their way in the future. Here are some tips for helping your child deal with stress.
1. Encourage them to Talk About Their Feelings
One of the best ways to help your child deal with stress is to encourage them to talk about what's worrying them. Don't wait for your child to tell you about their stress, even if they don't show any outward symptoms. Instead, ask them directly about their day or what's bothering them. If they feel comfortable opening up to you, they may be willing to share more details than you realize! Ask open-ended questions so as to give them time to think through their response and open up about what's going on in their lives. If they're older, encourage them to write their feelings down instead of speaking aloud (it could be a good idea for you, too!).
2. Let them Know that Avoiding Problems Isn't an Option
When someone avoids dealing with something that's bothering them, it piles on more pressure as time goes by and builds up until it becomes overwhelming - this is called avoidance coping! Instead, try suggesting ways your child might be able to face their fears head-on - such as talking through their worries. Parents need to remember that they don't have all the answers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping kids with anxiety; however, keep reminding your child that they have a lot of things going for them that can help them feel better about themselves and less stressed about the things they're worried about.
3. Try Relaxation Exercises
Relaxation exercises can be effective at reducing anxiety and helping your child cope with their worries. Try deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Give your child daily or weekly time to relax — whether that's yoga, meditation, or even sitting quietly doing nothing in particular. The key is getting them comfortable with being still and quiet so they can focus better when they need to do something. You could also teach your child tai chi, which is often used to help people reduce stress levels. If you're unsure how to do these techniques with your child, seek some guidance where you can learn more about them.
4. Listen Without Judgment
It’s essential for kids to feel heard and understood. Let your child talk about what’s stressing them out, but don’t offer solutions or advice until they ask for it. You might say, “Sorry you’re having a hard time with this. What do you think would help?” For example, if they tell you that they have too much homework and not enough time to study for the tests, tell them that sounds like a lot but that everyone has problems like that sometimes and needs help figuring them out. Let them know that what they’re feeling is normal and that you’re there to support them through it.
5. Be a Role Model for Healthy Coping Skills
Your children learn by watching you — so be sure their role models are people who demonstrate positive coping strategies. For example, if you're stressed, try going for a walk or getting some exercise instead of sitting around and stewing things. If he gets extra work from school, he doesn't know how long it will take him to finish; help him break it down into smaller chunks so he knows what he needs to do each night after dinner or on weekends during his free time. Also, if you can talk about stressful situations calmly and rationally, your child will learn that it's OK to feel angry or frustrated but that it's important not to act out when things aren't going your way.
So, as you can see, you can do plenty of things to help alleviate stress in your child. Do what you can from the list above, and hopefully, your child will have an easier time dealing with the pressures of school, homework, and life.