It’s no doubt that children are one of life’s miracles but as our offspring we sometimes tend to forget that while they may be all that is good in us, they are not our clones and are certainly not little adults. They are incapable of handling things in the same way that we are – which means they are unable to manage stress like we can. Not to mention, something that we would easily overlook would be a severe stressor to our kids – for example, showing up at school and finding desks rearranged differently than they have been all year or a substitute teacher instead of their regular teacher.
If your child is having breakdowns frequently, having trouble sleeping or nightmares or being clingy when they weren’t before, are all signs that your child could be experiencing more stress in their lives than they were before. Trust your instincts if you notice a change in your child’s behavior and try these tips to help them cope with stress more easily:
- Let them know it’s ok to talk about it – some children have a difficult time expressing themselves or they may be afraid to say what they are feeling. Make it very clear to your child that if they are feeling out of sorts that it’s ok to talk about it. Help them share with you if they are feeling scared or nervous or worried about something.
- Encourage your children to find positive in what is a stressful situation in their lives – for example, instead of being worried over having a substitute teacher, remind them that they are safe even with the substitute and their regular teacher will be back soon.
- Teach your children simple stress-relieving techniques like breaking and finding positive even in stressful situations.
- Establish routines for your children, especially at bedtime. These routines, when coupled with relaxing music will help your child relax after a rough day.
- Be sure to spend enough quality time with your children each day. This will help them to become more self-confident and assured and if something upsets their normal routine, they are less likely to act out.
Working with your children now to handle stress will help them be better at coping as they grow into adults.