What does a child know about being worried? He doesn’t have office deadlines! Nor does he need to think about bills! He doesn’t have a house, a spouse or a kid to take care of!
We often brush the concerns of our children under the carpet! However, if right from start we help them learn how to manage stress they would develop into optimistic and confident adults.
What do the kids worry about?
If you have been following Soniamusings and reading her saga of nursery admission, you would know that little Tunner has just started school. He does not want to go to school, and he cries each day. Yes, he will be stressed because that’s a new atmosphere and adjusting takes time. When we adults take time adjusting in a new environment, it’s no different for kids.
New school, new class, new friends, new teachers, peer pressure, grades, selection for a dance or a football team, the changes in their bodies as they grow old, the expectation that they should be loved and liked by parents, teachers or friends could be some of the worries.
These days parents enroll kids into multiple after school activities. Sometimes the schedule is too busy, that a child hardly gets to relax.
If the situation at home front is stressful may be due to parental marital discomfort, or a parent being stressed at workplace or financial issues, don’t think that they don’t get affected. They guess our temperaments and do feel it.
How do you know your child is stressed?
Recent changes in behaviour, mood swings, not able to sleep, loss of diet can be a few signals. Some kids just get withdrawn, while others may complain of headache or a stomachache. A child who had stopped bed wetting may start it again or some children may pick up a new annoying habit just you keep themselves distracted. For older children, a sudden change in academic performance or habits like lying or defying authority could be the subtle yet not so subtle hints.
How do we help kids deal with stress?
Be available and listen to them. Encourage conversations and let them put their thoughts into words. Never stop at what happened! Ask them how they felt about it? Let a child explore his own feelings. Do not judge, do not comment, “It’s nothing.” For you his issue must be a molehill, but for the child it is a mountain, and you have to help him find how to move that mountain. Reassure only when you have heard the full story. Don’t give solutions, ask them what they would like to do about the problem bothering them.
Do not undermine their feelings, yet remind that things would get better, or new opportunities will come.
Hug them, kiss them, some children need that physical touch as a reassurance that we are there for them.
Always keep a positive outlook. How you respond to worries, is what your child will do! So smile a lot, think optimistic and learn to see the glass half full.
Practice mindfulness and engage your kids early on in activities like yoga and meditation.
I am participating in A2Z Blogging Challenge this April and this post is my entry for letter S.