How to Help Your Child Manage Stress

Learn how to help your child manage stress in this Howcast video about child anxiety issues.

I’m here to help you manage your child’s stress. Although we think that childhood is a time of carefree days, and no stress, children actually can get stressed just as much as adults can, and sometimes for similar kinds of reasons. Fist thing is to recognize when your child is feeling stress, and they may show some signs of anxiety or stress by being may be irritable or angry or short tempered. They may actually just feel overwhelmed and stressed by what’s going on in their life, maybe they’re procrastinating, and you think they’re just being lazy when actually they just don’t know where to start.

One thing is to recognize that they might be stressed, then the next thing is to think about the cause of that stress. Is it that there’s too much going on in their life? Is it that there’s some particular topic or issue that’s problematic? Some test at school, some peer social situation at school, is there’s some stress in the home that actually your children are picking up on, and it’s making them stressed as well. The first thing to do is to talk to your child to figure out where the stress is coming from, and one way to do that might just be to have a general conversation, and talk about what you observe like “I see may be you haven’t been so happy lately” or “It seems you have a lot on your mind” So, label what you observe and have them start to tell you, and have a conversation about it.

Don’t assume that you know what’s going on for your child, then what you can do is actually talk about the real feelings that are associated with that stress, not to say “I’m stressed” but to really pinpoint “I’m feeling frustrated.” “I’m feeling worried about my test.” “I’m feeling lonely.” “I’m feeling left out by my friends at school.” “I’m feeling worried that we’re not going to have enough money since dad lost his job.” Whatever it is, try to find out the source of that stress by going to the source which is your child. Once you’ve listened to your child, you can then start to problem solve together.

So, what can we do depending on what the source of that stress is? Is it that they’re so worried about their test, that they’re going to need some kind of help with managing their school work, or managing their unrealistic expectations for grades, is it that there’s a friendship situation that’s causing them stress? Maybe it’s time to talk about what’s going on with their friends, and maybe think about some other strategies depending on their age, whether you intervene or whether you help a teenager with some other kind of stress that’s happening in their friendship world. Whatever it is take it seriously, help solve those problems, and then see what you need to do to prevent that stress for your child, so that then once you do solve it, it doesn’t come back.