Childhood Stress - Part 2
How can you help kids cope with stress? Proper rest and good nutrition can boost coping skills, as can good parenting. Make time for your kids each day. Whether they need to talk or just be in the same room with you, make yourself available.
Even as kids get older, quality time is important. It's really hard for some people to come home after work, get down on the floor, and play with their kids or just talk to them about their day — especially if they've had a stressful day themselves. But expressing interest in your kids' days shows that they're important to you.
Help your child cope with stress by talking about what may be causing it. Together, you can come up with a few solutions like cutting back on after-school activities, spending more time talking with parents or teachers, developing an exercise regimen, or keeping a journal.
You can also help by anticipating potentially stressful situations and preparing kids for them. For example, let a child know ahead of time (but not too far ahead of time) that a doctor's appointment is coming up and talk about what will happen there. Keep in mind, though, that younger kids probably won't need too much advance preparation. Too much information can cause more stress - reassurance is the key.
Remember that some level of stress is normal; let kids know that it's OK to feel angry, scared, lonely, or anxious and that other people share those feelings.
Helping Your Child Cope
When kids can't or won't discuss these issues, try talking about your own concerns. This shows that you're willing to tackle tough topics and are available to talk with when they're ready. If a child shows symptoms that concern you and is unwilling to talk, consult a counselor or other mental health specialist.
Books can help young kids identify with characters in stressful situations and learn how they cope.
Most parents have the skills to deal with their child's stress. The time to seek professional attention is when any change in behavior persists, when stress is causing serious anxiety, or when the behavior is causing significant problems in functioning at school or at home.
If you need help finding resources for your child, consult your doctor or the counselors and teachers at school.
Share this article