Life is full of situations that cause stress, but stress hits a little harder for kids compared to adults. This is especially true for younger kids who don’t have a well-rounded view of the world yet.
Whether it’s a divorce, a big move, changing schools, or dealing with bullies, it’s important to help your child cope with stress. No matter how resilient kids are, they aren’t immune to negative consequences. The fact that kids can bounce back from setbacks doesn’t mean they aren’t being harmed.
If your child is going through a stressful time at home or at school, here are some of the best ways to support them.
1. Find your child a great therapist
Kids don’t inherently know how to manage stress on their own. It’s something they need to be taught, and a therapist can teach them those vital life skills. A good therapist can also help your child navigate the unfamiliar terrain of big life changes, like a divorce or move.
Kids can’t control every aspect of their lives and have no choice but to go along with the adults in their lives. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it does tend to make kids feel powerless and sometimes defeated. Child counseling helps kids deal with issues at home and school in a manner that empowers them to feel like they are in charge of their lives.
Counseling helps kids deal with:
· Behavioral disorders
· And more
Therapy is critical during a divorce
Counseling plays an important role in maintaining a child’s mental health, but if you’re going through a divorce, it’s even more critical. No matter their age, and even if the divorce will help the child have a better life, it can still impact them negatively, even if they never show their upset. Studies have shown that even babies feel the negative impact of a divorce when there is arguing or tension in their environment.
2. Teach your child mindful meditation
Most kids enjoy mindfulness activities because it makes them feel good. Almost all kids are under some form of stress, even if it’s just pressure to perform academically. Learning mindfulness practices can go a long way toward helping them avoid the negative consequences of stress.
Kids of any age can benefit from mindfulness, and you can make the activities age-appropriate. For example, if your kids are in kindergarten or above, meditation is a good option. Have them start by sitting on a pillow with their spine straight, closing their eyes, and taking deep breaths. Teach them to let their thoughts flow rather than grab them and wrestle with them in their head. Have them focus on their breath the whole time and this will get easier.
Other forms of mindfulness you can employ include:
· Mindful walks. Take a walk with your child and teach them to focus their eyes on the horizon and pay attention to their breath. If they want, they can repeat affirmations about something positive they want to create in their life, like getting better grades.
· Anything that takes focused attention. Whether it’s a mind-bending puzzle or a trip through the garden to smell the flowers with intention, have your child engage fully in some kind of activity that requires using their senses in a concentrated manner.
The goal of mindfulness exercises is to improve awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgment. Through this awareness comes relaxation and alleviation of stress.
3. Reduce or eliminate your child’s triggers
While it’s true that people need to learn how to work with and around their triggers, sometimes triggers are too overwhelming and prevent this process entirely. If your child has some major triggers that prevent them from engaging in activities that reduce stress, try eliminating them as much as possible.
For instance, if your child is triggered by being told they have to do their homework at a specific time, try easing up on that and work with them to find a schedule that works for them. They might not want to dive into their homework as soon as they get home from school. They just had a long, hard day, and probably want to relax for a bit.
Don’t create more stress for your child to eliminate. The more you push them, the more stress they’ll experience, and any stress-relieving activities will be for naught.
Stress is unavoidable, but coping strategies can help
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never fully eliminate stress from your child’s life. However, you can help them become truly resilient by equipping them with the right stress-busting tools.