Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tips on How to Handle Child Stress

It is a real fact that stress and anxiety in children are a common problem in today's fast-paced, high-tech, activity-packed society. If you have a child who is experiencing stress and anxiety, try these simple but effective ways to alleviate anxiety in children.

1. Don’t dismiss her feelings. Telling your child not to worry about her fears may only make her feel like she’s doing something wrong by feeling anxious. Let her know it’s okay to feel bad about something, and encourage her to share her emotions and thoughts.

2. Listen. You know how enormously comforting it can be just to have someone listen when something’s bothering you. Do the same thing for your child. If he doesn’t feel like talking, let him know you are there for him. Just be by his side and remind him that you love him and support him.

3. Offer comfort and distraction. Try to do something she enjoys, like playing a favorite game or cuddling in your lap and having you read to her, just as you did when she was younger. Offer your tender loving care.
4. Get him outside. Exercise can boost mood, so get him moving. Even if it’s just for a walk around the block, fresh air and physical activity may be just what he needs to lift his spirits and give him a new perspective on things.

5. Stick to routines. Balance out any changes by trying to maintain as much of her regular routine as possible. Try to stick to her regular bedtime and mealtimes, if possible.

6. Keep your child healthy. Make sure he’s eating right and getting enough sleep.. If he feels good, he’ll be better equipped to work through whatever is bothering him.

7. Avoid over scheduling. Too many activities can easily lead to stress and anxiety in children. Just as grownups need some downtime after work and on weekends, children also need some quiet time alone to decompress.

8. Limit your child's exposure to upsetting news or stories. If your child sees or hears upsetting images or accounts of natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis or sees disturbing accounts of violence or terrorism on the news, talk to your child about what's going on. Reassure her that she and the people she loves are not in danger.

9. Consult a counselor or your pediatrician. If you suspect that a change in the family such as a new sibling, a move, divorce, or a death of a family member is behind your child's stress and anxiety, seek advice from an expert such as your child's school counselor, your pediatrician, or a child therapist. They can suggest ways to help your child from stress.

10. Set a calm example. You can set the tone for how stress and anxiety in children and adults is handled in your house. You must also know how to handle stress in a peaceful way so you can help tone down your child.


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