How to Reduce Your Child’s Stress

How to Reduce Your Child’s Stress Picture

Stressed. For once, I'm not talking about myself. It may be worse; I am talking about children.

How do you know when your child is stressed? Do children get stressed? You bet.

Sometimes we look at our children and we may think of their lives as "easy peasy." We feed them, change their clothes, clean-up their rooms, help brush their teeth, bathe them, play with them, take them here and there, and snuggle them. Who could ask for anything more?

The truth is, it is easy to forget we dictate much, if not all, of their day. We tell them when to eat, what to wear, how their room should look, when to brush their teeth, when they will get a bath, what toys they have to play with, and plan where they will go. Though most of this is good, there does come a point when aspects of a child's day may be stressful for them.

How much control does your child have over their day? What happens when they don't want to go somewhere, wear something, or do something? Chances are, it's at these times you've seen a meltdown or two. 

Crying, screaming, kicking, etc. are ways in which our children communicate. Most of the times we see these behaviors it is because our children have not yet acquired the skills to handle what is happening in a more appropriate manner. Furthermore, they save their worst for us. After all, they trust us to love them no matter what.

When you see stress in your child (as evidenced by their behaviors) what can you do?

Even as toddlers, our little ones can learn to use techniques to calm and comfort in times of stress. One of my favorite techniques is deep breathing. A few simple deep breaths can comfort, calm, and sometimes redirect a young child from an oncoming meltdown.

Feel like your little one is reaching their breaking point? 

Put on some tunes. Instead of reaching for the Lady Gaga, find something a bit more soothing. Try a new genre of music such as jazz or classical.

Help your child imagine something else. Lower your voice and make-up a story of your kiddo's favorite things. Re-direction is always good.

If your little one is stressing, take a step back and re-evaluate. Think about their day, what choices you are providing them, how much "down time"/playtime/family time is part of every day. When you can, make a change and get rid of the clutter in life. Simplify. You might find that if you do, you'll see a lot less stress in your child's life and in yours too.

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How to Reduce Your Child’s Stress

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

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