Ideas For Helping Kids Manage Stress

Ideas For Helping Kids Manage Stress

Are your kids struggling with dealing with stress? Are you uncertain how to go about supporting your child as he manages his anxiety? Try the following activities to help your child learn how to deal with stressful situations.

Walk it out. By walking away, your child is actively resisting and choosing how to handle the stress. No doubt your kid is feeling a rush of adrenaline–the fight or flight response. By teaching him to walk away, you teach him to grab hold of the reins and say whoa, I’m not going along for this ride anymore. Instead, have him run or walk until he gets relief from the stress. Physical activity releases stress and is an appropriate response in many environments (recess, gym, at home, outside with friends).

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Use art to process stress. Many children find it difficult to verbally describe a stressful situation, but they are able to vent via creative expression. Give your child a set of paints or markers and ask them to paint an emotional picture – one that tells you how they feel right then. Let your child go in whatever direction she feels led, without telling her how to do it. She may draw a cartoon strip of something that happened at school or paint an abstract of bright colors. Make sure your child knows you are available to talk, but don’t push it.

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Write it out. Many children feel safer writing in a diary than talking about stressful experiences. Dedicate a journal to communication between you and your child; write notes to each other in it each day. Then, when your child is angry or sad, use the notebook to write him a note, asking how he’s doing. Make use of this diary to help your child vent emotionally and stay close to you. Your child may feel safe to express volatile feelings through this safe medium, which will help the two of you get closer.

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Parenting can be tough, so remind yourself that you are teaching your child how to deal with stress as an adult.

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