Awhile back, I discovered Melissa from CloudMom.com on Twitter and I just love her site. She is always sharing great family tips. Today, she will share with us tips for how you can help your kids manage stress. As a mother of five herself, she gets plenty of opportunity to practice what she preaches! I think you find her parenting tips on stress management for kids informative and down to earth.
5 Ways To Help Kids Deal With Stress
Melissa from CloudMom here, talking about a subject that really hits close to home for my busy family of seven – reducing stress! In this day and age, it seems that herding your kids from schools to extracurricular activities and sports practices leaves us no time to just sit back, take a deep breath, and let the stress melt away. Personally, I am guilty at overscheduling myself and my five kids, but this New Year I made a resolution to find peace in this bustling city. Here are some 5 tips for reducing your child’s stress and anxiety!
Let them know imperfect is ok
Perfectionism can be stressful. Sometimes kids can be their own worst critic. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be their #1 fan, cheering for them on the sidelines and smiling from the audience, no matter what they thought of their performance. In a school system driven by grades and rankings, it’s our jobs as parents to encourage our children to work hard and also to embrace their mistakes and imperfections. Remind them that nobody starts off an expert at anything and that with hard work they will surely succeed in time!
Schedule in relaxation time
In this active world, kids still are kids and need time to just relax and have fun with their friends. Even sports and activities with friends can get pretty competitive. Schedule in play dates where the kids can just be themselves, playing pretend, having tea parties, finger painting, or just being plain silly in their own ways. You might even try fun crafts if you both enjoy making things- like these aromatherapy stress-relieving balls. And on days where you’re alone with your child, help reduce their stress by taking them somewhere relaxing, like a beach or even just the hammock in the backyard. I like listening to soothing music with my children, it can really help drown out the busy city life outside!
Catch some z’s
Sleep is vital for both a child’s physical and mental health. They will definitely not be on their best behavior or working their hardest if they’re tired and cranky. Even on the weekends, set a time for bed and stick to it! Try not to let them watch TV too close to bedtime. To help your child calm down before bed, have a nightly routine set up so they are ready to transition into dreamland. I like helping them unwind with a couple of their favorite books – sometimes they’re out before I can even get to “the end”!
Lead by example
Another important part of stress management for kids is leading by example as parents. Children look up to us for everything, especially when under stress. They see us as a guide to dealing with all kinds of situations, so it’s best to keep a cool head even in the most trying times. If the parent is anxious, a child will definitely pick up on that anxiety, only increasing their stress. Some tips for handling stressful situations around your children are to slow down your speech, take a few deep breaths to relax, and conveying calm through your own body language and facial expressions. Definitely something we can all work on in the year ahead!
Focus on the positives
If your child is anxious or stressed, they can get totally lost in negative thoughts and self-criticism. However, parents can help counteract this “glass half empty” mentality by instead focusing on all your child’s positives and the good aspects of the situation. If they’re upset because they forgot the words in their school play, for example, praise them for their courage at getting on the stage and trying something new. Remind them that there is always a next time and a new opportunity to succeed in the future!
If you feel these tips for stress management for kids are quite enough to help your child’s anxiety, you might want to consider seeing a family doctor or therapist to help address any concerns you are having. Consulting a professional is always a good choice.
Melissa Lawrence, co-founder of CloudMom, lives in New York City with her husband and 5 young children. With more than a few parenting tricks up her sleeve, Melissa posts how-to videos and blogs for moms just like you! Happy parenting!