The way parents respond to emotional situations significantly affects how well children learn to cope with their emotions.
- Children are continually learning how to care for themselves and need guidance in how to express and understand their feelings.
- Stay attuned with your kid’s feelings—ask how they are doing, provide environment so they feel safe talking about how they feel.
- Children who learn positive coping skills, such as stress reduction and relaxation, are better able to respond to and recover from difficult situations. This ability will serve them not only in childhood and adolescence but in adulthood as well, and will benefit their physical health and academic/work performance.
- Positive coping skills will likely also decrease anxiety and behavior problems, while increasing self-control, self-confidence, and positive interpersonal relations.
- The first step to reducing stress is helping your child become aware of when he/she is experiencing stress. The experience of stress exhibits itself in three ways: • Physiological (increased heart rate, headaches, nausea) • Behavioral (disturbed sleep, getting easily annoyed, being avoidant), • Cognitive (difficulty concentrating, worrying, negative thinking).
- By helping your child learn to identify when he/she is experiencing stress, your child will learn when stress reducing or relaxation activities would be useful.
- Help your child learn deep breathing – this is a highly effective way to decrease stress. Practice breathing in deeply and then breathing out slowly. Repeat this a few times. With younger children deep breathing can be easily practiced when they are put to bed.
- Progressive muscle relaxation is another effective relaxation technique. Focus on an area of the body, such as the arms, and tense them as much as possible for a count of ten. Then release the muscles for a count of ten. Progress through the major areas of the body (legs, arms, shoulders, etc.). This too can be practiced before going to sleep.
- Make sure your child has enough rest— but not over sleeping. Children need between 11 to 12 hours per night.
- Further, there are many daily activities that can lower stress, such as regular exercise, engaging in hobbies, write in a journal, meditation, yoga, listening to soft music, and visualization.
If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396