As grown ups, we know that stress is draining and affects our mood as well as our perception of daily experiences. The same is true for our kids, whether toddlers or teenagers. As a Mom, you have the ability to help when your child is facing overwhelm or stress. Today, the demands of childhood are greater than ever before. We pack their schedules with activity and expect the highest outcome for each exam. Daily competition among peers and in athletics can trigger almost constant anxiety.
We can step in to equip our youngsters to manage the stress that is inevitable. When your little one or your big kid, even your teen, starts to feel the pressure of daily life, here are hand-on ways to equip them how to handle the stress and stand with them as they face new challenges:
Comfort. Grab a favorite bag of candy or deliver dinner to your child’s desk. Make it easier to get out the door the day of a big test or project presentation by stacking their gear and including a water bottle. Notice what your child appreciates and then do it; this is your chance to earn mother of the year status!
Create routines that lead to success. Sometimes we expect our children to think and act like adults, but they don’t have the habits in place yet. It’s our job to teach them how to prioritize and plan in order to be prepared. Look ahead at what is coming so there aren’t last minute moments of panic.
Coddle *just a bit.* Help by taking some of the load off your child’s shoulders. I’m all for teaching responsibility and chores, yet helping complete their laundry or taking over dishwashing duty speaks volumes to the young person struggling to manage all the demands of the day. Provide time and space to conquer the tasks that demanding attention.
(en)Courage. Praise the effort, the desire to complete, and the work ethic to stick with hard things. Notice when your child is working ahead or going beyond the norm. Focus on the progress, not just the result.
Challenge the timeline. Inexperience and immaturity mean that kids don’t realize how much time tasks will require. Break it down into manageable chunks and let them realize that accomplishment one step at a time.
Calm their nervous system. Now is the time to begin instilling the life skills of mindful breathing, taking a walk or resting in order to reset our minds. Establish calming habits by teaching breathing techniques or cuddle up with a weighted blanket to sip something warm. The endorphins of exercise are calming, so pound the street, leap on the trampoline or use big muscles to haul things in the yard. Then small bodies are more ready to face a challenge. Stressful moments are a key time to teach techniques for managing all the future difficulties that life will bring. Let your child know it’s alright to find ways to self soothe, so long as they are healthy habits.
Crush it! Remind your child that you love him or her apart of achievement. Even if you make a B, C or fail. Do your very best, prepare and work hard. Then let the results go. Rest in the safety of family acceptance and love. When the outcome isn’t what you hoped, or you make it through an especially busy week, take time to rest and reset.