5 Steps for Parents to Help Their Children Fight Stress
Parents are often the first line of defense when it comes to their children's stress levels.
This is because parents need to help manage not only their own stress, but also that of their family members.
Stress can be caused by many different factors, including school work and peer pressure.
The five steps in this article will show you how you can help your child fight stress so they can live a more balanced life:
1. Identify the source of your child's stress
The first thing parents can do for their child is to help them understand the concept of stress.
Stress might be caused by school, friends or family members, and it's important that your child knows what causes this feeling inside them.
They may also not be aware, that as their parent, you have noticed a change in their behaviour - this could be anything from acting out to withdrawing from the rest of the family and it is therefore important that you talk to them about it.
Once they are aware of their behaviour and it's source, you can find ways for your child to manage their stress better.
2. Create a plan to manage their time and responsibilities
Once your child is aware of the source of their stress, you can sit down with them and discuss ways to manage it.
It's important that they are involved in creating this plan for themselves - after all, if they know what causes their stress, they will be able to create a much better way to handle it.
Some examples include:
- Staying away from social media when feeling overwhelmed by school work.
- Taking a break if things are too overwhelming.
- Creating daily goals for themselves.
- Being a little more discerning and aware of the company they keep, ie. avoiding negative people who only add more pressure on top of everything else.
- Setting aside time each day just for relaxing and taking care of their mental health.
These options could mean different things for different children so make sure you talk about how best to help them manage their time and responsibilities before coming up with an action plan.
Making small changes like these should reduce the stress your child is feeling, thus increasing their overall happiness.
3. Provide positive feedback for good work or behavior
Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to manage the behavior of children.
When you provide positive feedback for good behaviour, this helps your child feel both heard and understood by their parents, whilst also teaching them that they are capable of managing themselves when things get tough.
By using phrases like "I noticed", "You did" or even just giving a simple thumbs up gesture, you're showing your child how proud you are of them which in turn makes them want to keep doing better!
And remember... if it doesn't work at first, don't give up!
Children are notorious for pushing boundaries, however, stick with it because, eventually, they will see what works well and that they can continue to use vs. what doesn't and just needs to be dropped in order to maintain their stress levels and mental health.
This could mean anything from asking them how they're feeling and then validating that what you think is causing their stress is actually the problem, to taking a step back from something in order for everyone - not just your child - to feel less overwhelmed.
Be sure to give yourself some grace when it comes to this because we all make mistakes and if you don't know what's going on with your children chances are neither do they... Allow enough time for communication about their feelings before giving up entirely; remember: Rome was NOT built in a day!
4. Teach them how to identify when they are feeling stressed
Stress is not always immediately obvious.
As mentioned earlier, sometimes, children will act out or withdraw from their family before they're even aware of what's happening to them; this could be because of something small like getting reprimanded by a teacher for forgetting their homework but also because of larger things like bullying or relationship issues with friends and/or family.
If your child does notice that there are changes in how they're feeling, it helps if you already have a few tools ready on how to identify when stress is affecting the way they behave during calm times as well.
- There may be physical signs such as tiredness, headaches, stomach aches, etc., so keeping track of all these things over time can help show trends which might otherwise go unnoticed.
- There may also be behavioural signs such as getting frustrated or angry, forgetting to do things they normally would, withdrawing from their family and friends (especially if this is something that has changed recently), etc.
Make sure you discuss these signs with your child so that when changes like this start happening they are able to look back at the lessons you've taught them about identifying stress before it becomes unmanageable.
When children can identify what's causing their own stress - whether internally or externally - then there is a better chance of working towards mitigating those problems over time which means less overall anxiety for everyone involved!
Take all of these steps together and not only will your child learn how to manage but both you AND your child will be happier!
5. Help them find ways to reduce their stress
There are so many benefits in simple things like breathing routines, visualization techniques and even just having a "chill out" area in their room.
When you're feeling stressed it's difficult to think clearly about what might be causing that stress or how best to solve the problem at hand; this is why we often get stuck on repeat where nothing seems like it will ever change!
By instituting these small changes into your children's daily routine - whether they want them or not - then there will be less for everyone involved.
By taking ten minutes before dinner each night (or whatever time works best with the rest of your family) and closing eyes while focusing only on breathing in and out, then not only are you giving your child a break but also teaching them that even when they're feeling stressed there is always something they can do to calm themselves down.
It doesn't have to be an hour long meditation session either! Even five minutes of quiet time each day will help reduce stress levels over time so it's well worth the investment!
The key here is consistency because children learn by repetition which means if these techniques are used consistently enough then eventually their brains won't know how to react without having practiced beforehand.
This type of thinking - where mindfulness becomes second nature - makes life much easier for everyone involved since our natural state should be one of happiness rather than constant worry or anger about things beyond our control!
You can't control your kids' stressors, but you CAN help them learn how to manage their feelings.
As you read through our list of five ways that parents can help their children fight stress, did any jump out at you?
What do these steps mean to you and what are your thoughts about them?
Let us know in the comments below - we’d love to hear from you!