While you may think childhood was a carefree period of your life, the same thing does not hold true for children nowadays. Stress is a condition everybody suffers, be it adults or children. If we talk about children, they will need external help to deal with and manage their stress as they may​ not​ even​ know​ they​ are​ going​ through​ any​ problem.

As cliche as it may sound, your child is your joy and responsibility as well. You are the first person​ who​ can​ recognize​ if​ your​ child​ is​ ​in troubled,​ anxious​ or​ going​ through​ some​ stress.

Let​ me​ get​ you​ started​ with​ a few​ key​ pointers​ to​ detect​ if​ your​ child​ is​ under​ stress.

How​ To​ Know​ If​ Your​ Child​ Is​ Under​ Stress ?​ ​

Let’s​ Find​ Out

Kids who are under stress often have trouble with their mood and behavior. You may notice slight​ changes​ like​ unnecessary​ tantrums,​ crying,​ health​ issues​ or​ getting​ irritated​ easily.

Further, the child may withdraw from their favorite activities like playing or going outside. Most often, such kids complain of irregular headaches or stomach ache and have a sudden change in their​ sleeping​ and​ eating​ pattern. Also, you may notice these kids refusing to go to school and indulging in self-negative talk. That being said, you must remember every child is different and may show other signs of stress. As a parent,​ it​ is​ your​ duty​ to​ help​ your​ child​ out​ and​​ let them know that it’s okay .

Now, let me share the few things that as a parent can help you handle the situation and teach your​ kid​ to​ manage​ stress​ and​ reduce​ anxiety​ in​ them.

How​ Can​ You​ Help​ Your Child​ To Manage​ Stress​ and​ Reduce​ His​ Anxiety?

  • Encourage​ Them​ To​ Face​ Their​ Fears: 

    If your child is under stress due to a situation that is fearsome for them, it is time to teach them how to face it. The fear of getting in an anxiety provoking situation can further increase the anxiety in your child. However, if you let them know how they can go “one step at a time”, their fears​ will​ variably​ reduce​ and​ the​ anxiety​ that​ kicks​ in​ will​ stop​ as​ well. If you can’t take larger steps, it’s okay. Just take baby steps. Remember each step counts when it​ is​ taken​ in​ the​ right​ direction.

  • Listen​ To​ Your​ Child:

    Be your child’s best friend and confidante. Listen to them carefully and attentively. Ask them what’s bothering them. You may feel that your child doesn’t want to open up. But sadly, it is farther​ from​ the​ truth. Most often, children can’t put a label to what they are feeling. This is a time when you can step in and talk to them. Initiate a conversation. Say something like, “ It seems like you’re sad about what happened in the school.” or “how are you feeling today?”. Try emoticons like a happy face, sad​ face,​ joyful,​ and​ more.​ Let​ them​ identify​ their​ emotions​ and​ connect​ with​ it.Make​ it​ a free​ flowing​ conversation​ and​ let​ your​ child​ share​ his​ concerns​ and​ problems. It is important to hear them out without any blames, anger, or judgement. When you’ll listen to them, be patient. Let them speak. They will know there is someone they can talk to and it will help them​ cope​ with​ their​ stress​ more​ easily.

  • Focus​ on​ Positive​ Aspects:

    Stressed or anxious children can often indulge in negative and self-critical talks. This thinking can slowly creep in every aspect of their life and lead to low-self esteem. Your voice becomes their inner voice. You can save your child by teaching him to see the silver lining under the dark cloud ​. ​Also,​ remember​ your​ child​ does​ what​ he​ sees​ you​ doing. You’re the biggest role model for your child. Before you preach, practice it yourself. Never worry that he is not taking your command, worry that he is watching and observing your actions.Handle your stress in an ideal way and encourage your child to adopt positive thinking as well. You’ll​ be​ surprised​ how​ small​ changes​ will​ reflect​ immensely​ in​ your​ child’s​ life.

  • Educate​ Your​ Child​ To​ Understand​ Their​ Bodies:

    Your body talks to you. The slight changes can help you detect if you’re overworking yourself or following​ a ​good​ routine.​ Similarly,​ your​ child’s​ body​ goes​ through​ the​ same​ process. Educate your child to understand their bodies and the physiology of the stress. Tell them how the butterflies they feel in their stomach on the first day of their new class is okay. However, consistent tummy aches or headaches are a sign that something is not right. It means the child is​ undergoing​ some​ stress.These health issues like nausea, muscle pain, low energy and repetitive complains are strong symptoms​ that​ your​ child​ is​ under​ stress.​ Just​ pay​ attention​ and​ never​ ignore​ such​ signs.

  • Engage​ Your​ Child​ In​ Relaxing​ Activities:

    School exams, co-curricular activities, home tuitions, sports. These are just few of the activities that​ today’s​ children​ have​ to​ do​ in​ a single​ day.​ All​ work and​ no​ play makes​ Jack​ a​ ​dull​ boy. Nowadays, even play (Read: Sports) have become a serious competition for kids and less of a stress buster. I’d suggest you to engage your child in relaxing activities like art or sketching. Just ask​ them​ to​ free​ draw​ anything​ they​ like​ with​ their​ fingers,​ if​ you​ can.It’ll also help you analyze what’s going in your child’s mind by taking their color choices into consideration. For instance, picking a lot of darker shades is often considered a sign of aggression. You can check the color psychology guides for further analysis of your child behavior. Further, this “​ ART THERAPY​ ” can help your child unveil their deep-rooted emotions and thoughts at the sub-conscious level. Some children also feel relaxed when they write out their emotions​ or​ dance,​ for​ instance. Help your child figure out what they love and you’ll see a great change in their stress management​ and​ life​ as​ well.

  • Tell​ Them​ It​ Is​ Okay​ To​ Mess​ Up:

    No one is perfect. Now that’s a fact. While everybody around us is aiming for perfection, children often feel stressed or anxiety when they underperform or get bad grades. Tell them it’s okay​ to​ mess​ up​ and​ just​ fine.​ Share​ your​ failed​ experiences​ and​ what​ you​ learnt​ from​ them. It’s okay to mess up. Everyone does that. The best part is when you keep going even after a failure. That’s what’s important.

What​ Else​ You  Can Do​ To​ Make​ Your​ Child​ Feel​ Better?

There are just a few more things you can practice with your child to reduce their stress and anxiety​ issues.

  • Use positive affirmations with your child and educate them about its benefits. Say things like, “​ I am calm. I am peaceful. I am happy. I am beautiful”. These small statements will make your little one feel happy and in bliss. Never address your child with “don’t do this that.”. Instead focus​ on​ saying​ “do​ this​ or​ that”.
  • Children become what you make of them. They are like wet clay in your hands. Tell them it is important to be happy. Practice gratitude. Ask them to daily say thanks and offer gratitude for their life and the uncountable blessings they have. This will make them understand the importance​ of​ being​ grateful​ and​ a lot​ to​ be​ happy​ for.
  • Practice relaxing exercises with your child. The very basic relaxing exercises like taking three deep breaths or counting from 1-10 backwards slowly can help your kid a great deal to just​ slow​ down​ the​ messy​ thoughts​ and​ actually​ focus​ on​ the​ present.
  • Aggressive children can greatly benefit from this technique to help them control their tantrums and​ just​ relax.
  • Lastly, you can introduce your child to progressive muscle relaxation. Put on some good and positive instrumental music (You may search Zen Garden on Youtube) and teach your kids to relax​ their​ bodies​ starting​ from​ the​ toes​ to​ their​ head. They’ll get a hang of it after 2-3 practices. This body muscle relaxation technique calms the mind​ and​ helps​ release​ stress​ in​ both​ children​ and​ adults.
  • You can also practice chanting while waking up or putting your child to sleep. OM is a universal mantra that even scientists have found to be highly effective. If you can, teach your children​ to​ chant​ Gayatri​ Mantra..This​ will​ open​ up​ the​ subconscious​ power​ of​ your​ child.
  • Finally,​ Just​ Be​ There​ For​ Your​ Child You love your child and they know it. However, this busy life doesn’t let you shower them with love and attention as much as you want. Don’t feel any guilt over it. Children nowadays are intelligent. They understand if you explain your situation with right words and love. Kids today also prefer quality time over quantity. Give your child an hour of love, care, and undivided attention.​ Never​ forget​ to​ maintain​ eye​ contact​ and​ a loving​ touch.​ Play,​ relax​ or​ just​ listen.

This one hour of quality time will bring your child closer to you and away from any stress or anxiety. If you still feel confused with the behavior of your child, that’s okay. Just ask an expert or a child psychologist who can get your child out of the situation and help you with better parenting​ tips.

I hope this post was helpful for you and your child. Remember, your child needs you and sometimes just being there is enough. If you’d like more help or guidance, feel free to ask us and we’ll​ reach​ out​ to​ you.

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