How to Help Your Kids Handle Stress

Life can be pretty stressful. We know as adults that stress is just a part of life. Divorce, separation, life change, learning to juggle child support, children, schedules…everything contributes pretty high on the stress scale. It is understandable that the parents are stressed in the process. But the kids feel the stress too. Some kids are really sensitive to the stress around them and just take on the tension and anxiety from the parents. Other children feel stressed because they are dealing with their own changes of life…different houses, new step parents, possibly added siblings, changes in rules, bedtimes, food, and routines…just to name a few.

The important thing is to help your child deal with all the stress in a positive manner. This can be difficult if you as the adult aren’t dealing with your own stress well. Here are the Top 5 important tips to help your child which can be beneficial for everyone.

  • Talk about it – Do not let things go silent, unseen or bottle them up inside. When you see your child is stressed about something, notice it out loud. Put a name on it, so that it can be addressed, and then put away.
  • Listen, comment, and move on – Have an open ear for your child. Some kids have a hard time putting their feelings into words, especially young ones. You might need to help find words for what they are feeling to show you understand. Show sympathy, but then don’t dwell on it. Do not continue to revisit the same situation over and over.
  • Find a solution – If there is a specific problem causing the stress, help them come up with a solution, or possible solutions to try. They may need some creative help.
  • Make sleep a priority – It is amazing how sleep regenerates the body and sometimes solves problems. There is a reason the phrase “sleep on it” came about. Sleep is so important to the cycle of our hormones and emotions, and if we don’t get enough, it can effect everything else. Not enough sleep for kids on a consistent basis can mean they are over-scheduled or don’t have a routine. These both would be key stressors.
  • Kids should not be living the adult life – The situations that co parents have to deal with like child support, scheduling the back and forth, rule and routine making, financial worries…these should not be part of the what the kids stress about. Some parents involve the children way too much in the adult world. Let them be kids. Have conversations that they don’t get to be a part of. Screen your adult stress for them.
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