As adults we can underestimate the amount of stress that children are under. From school work to social pressures to wanting to please you, their parents, being young is not as easy as it is chalked up to be! So here are 3 tips that are great for helping your little ones tackle their life stresses, no matter what they may be:
1) The Power Of The Mind
Never underestimate the incredible power of the mind. Humans have shown time and time again that ‘mind over matter’ is more than just a simple phrase to be brushed off. Jay Anderson, a psychologist who specialises in the treatment of children shares her number one tip pertaining to this issue:
“My TOP TIP is just to use a very simple cognitive reassuring strategy of thinking ‘I am ok. I will be ok. I can do this…’
Helping a child to talk about what they are worried about or afraid of, is a first step to helping them to name and recognise their thoughts and feelings. Then helping them with some positive and successful strategies is next. Helping a child to get out of the “avoidance cycle” and into an “action” mode is better. Anxiety likes avoiding. Avoiding means we don’t have to experience the tricky feelings … or as put by the Turnaround Program (Whack Thoughts, Yucky Feelings and Zany responses - D Russ and C McCarthy of www.turnaroundanxiety.com)
There you have it - sometimes the best way to tackle an issue is to think it out, or talk it out with a loved one. For more expert advice from Jay, check out South West Wellbeing Centre and My Child My Family online!
2) Slide Away The Stress
Playing outdoors and on playground equipment are proven ways of helping young ones cope with stress! So why not invest in some for your very own backyard? Slides are a great way to help children relax and they help to create a decorated and vibrant looking garden, just right for children!
If you want to get creative, browse inflatable water slides online, and have fun as a family blowing them up and then spending an afternoon in the sunshine together. These are also perfect for birthday parties and playdates. Sometimes it’s the simple things, like playing together as a family on a fun piece of equipment, that helps chase the blues (or stresses) away!
3) Employ Practical Strategies From A Psychologist
As parents, we love to assume we can fix our kids’ problems all on our own. However, it’s important to know when to reach out to a professional! Here are five practical strategies from Danielle Copplin, an Educational and Developmental Psychologist, to help your children stay calm and remain positive:
Teach your child some simple relaxation techniques like simple deep breathing. Breath in deeply on counts of 1,2,3,4 and then breathe out on counts of 1,2,3,4,5,6. Try to always practise breathing out for longer than you are breathing in.
Use muscle tensing and then relaxing. Start with the feet and then work your way up through the major muscles of the body, exaggerating the exhale with a big breath out.
Promote positive self-talk such as “I am calm”, “I am relaxed”, and “I feel peaceful”, “I feel safe.” Spend quality time with your child to think up their own positive statements.
Make relaxation fun! Try yoga or Tai Chi. Some children may find that an energetic activity, such as trampolining, is a more effective and enjoyable way for them to relax and let go.
Encourage your child to give themselves a big hug in the mirror every day by crossing their arms over their chest and squeezing firmly. This can help to help your child’s brain to feel loved and connected (which is incredibly important for mood!).
Danielle is the director of Scope Clinical Services and Educational toys Online. She is passionate about assessing, diagnosing and supporting young people with Autism, ADHD and Learning and Behavioural Difficulties and she is committed to sourcing the best toys and educational resources for learning and development in the home and school environments. Find Scope Clinical Services on Facebook to find out more!
No one enjoys a stressful household, nor do parents enjoy having kids around who are upset and not living up to their full potential. Hopefully these 3 tips can you help out with keeping your little one from being negatively affected by stress. It’s important to teach your child methods to combat anxiety so that they can lead healthy, happy lives.