All children are faced with stress at times, whether in school, social situations or in the home. Here, the early childhood development professionals at Celebree provide parents with tips on how to help your children handle stress effectively.
- Listening and Talking – Childhood stress may seem small or trivial to adults, but to a child, these experiences are new and scary. When your child is faced with a stressful situation, it is important to give them your full attention. Allow them to explain their feelings fully before jumping in and try to avoid lecturing, trivializing, or belittling language. Ensure that your children understand that the situation they are dealing with is tough, but that they have your support to help them work through it. Talking through stressful events, even small incidents, can be monumental to teaching your child how to handle stress in adulthood.
- Adjust Your Schedules – Children who are asked to follow strict schedules can become stressed more easily by changes in that schedule, be it additions or subtractions. While it is fantastic for children to get a wide variety of experiences, they also need downtime, just like adults. Unstructured time, where children can relax and recharge is important to clearing our little ones’ minds of the pressures of the day. Pare down your child’s schedule if they aren’t getting at least a few afternoons or evenings per week where they can unwind and enjoy themselves in an organic way. Make sure to carve out uninterrupted time for regular sit-down dinners, where family members can catch up, unwind and enjoy time together.
- Emphasize Good Sleep – Children need much more, and a better quality of, sleep than adults do. Just as sleep and rest is an essential component of development, it is critical to maintaining a handle on stress. Provide a quiet environment for children to sleep—this means no televisions or computers in the bedroom, which can inhibit sleep. If your child is unable to sleep, or complains of frequent stomach pains or headaches, there may be an underlying problem. Chronic stress can manifest physically, and speaking to your child’s health professional can help address any issues.
- Make Time for Play – Unstructured play, especially outdoor play, is a great way for children to deal with stress. While competition is healthy for children, it is important that they also get play time that has no end goal or achievement. Artistic play, such as drawing, coloring, and craft projects also gives children an outlet to express their feelings creatively, while still having fun. Make sure to spend some time playing with your children as well, which can help you relieve your own stress.
- Teach Children How to Handle Mistakes – Children will make mistakes, and teaching them how to deal with them will go a long way to maintaining a child’s self-esteem, stress and overall wellbeing. Remind them that it is okay to make mistakes, and that while helpful behavior is great, learning how to fix hurtful behaviors is just as important. By providing your child a safe and loving atmosphere, they will be more willing to open up about mistakes they have made. Help them find and act on the next step, and teach them how to make amends if need be.
For additional information on childhood stress relief, or to learn about more about how Celebree’s educators help children learn to cope with stress, contact us today!