a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Helping Your Child Cope with Stress

Note: If you did not read my last post please scroll down and do so before continuing to read this.

Could your child be stressed?

This is 8-year-old Lisa's pictorial 11-hour day (I added a chore to the equation so maybe it is now a 12-hour day)

Is your child's day anything like this?

"Children are pushed to excel in school, in athletics, and socially at ever-younger ages. . .No matter how worthwhile the activities are singly, the cumulative effect can be disastrous." Don Kaercher, the author of the article I am using with this post.

What Can a Parent Do?
It takes commitment, but you can help your child manage stress:

  • Be alert for symptoms - Identify the source of the stress promptly. If talking gets you nowhere, go to older siblings or your child's teacher for help. Watch younger children at play for clues.
  • Set reasonable goals - Many parents mistakenly assume that children have maturity and self-sufficiency beyond their years. Don't feel compelled to sign up your youngster for every program that comes along, and don't expect your child to be the best at everything he or she tries to do.
  • Offer a positive example* - Show your youngster that you can master the stresses in your own life. Manage your time to minimize tension and confusion at home; don't let your child perceive you as someone who is always disorganized and harried. Most important, analyze your person priorities and reserve the time you need to spend with your child.
What to Teach Your Child?
The key is to give your child the tools and the confidence to manage stressful situations:
  • Self-awareness - Make sure that your youngster recognizes the inward signs of stress. Help them learn learn that rapid breathing, a pounding heart, or butterflies in the stomach are physical symptoms of emotional stress.
  • Management techniques* - There are lots of stress management classes for adults, but few programs for youngsters. Parents have to be the teachers. 
Youngsters from pre-school through high school can learn deep breathing, relaxation techniques and   imagery (creating positive mental pictures.) 

Encourage your child to let off steam through exercise, sports, dance or other activities without pressuring them further.  

Suggest they take a brief mental vacation from the problem and then return to the situation refreshed. 

Check your library for books about stress management. The same principles that work for you will work for your child, occasionally with modification depending on their age.
  • Problem-solving skills - Teach your child that once the source of a stress problem is identified, it must be managed. Work with your child to develop a plant of attack for solving or reducing the problem. 
The above information is from the article by Dan Kaercher. He credits the book, Coping with Childhood Stress by Barbara Kuczen. 

* This post and Tuesdays, while meaning to be helpful, have probably added more anxiety to your stress level and your already too busy schedule. 

I looked back over past postings and surprised myself at how many times I  have addressed our (yours and mine) need for stress relief and encouragement.  Below is a list of them.  Some are fun, most are short, some are serious, hopefully all are helpful, and all are just a click away. 

I hope you will choose to bookmark this post and return for a few minutes at a time to renew yourself.

I promise they are all simple, because. . . 
that's who, and what, I am.

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