How to help children deal with stress?
By : Luh Desi Karunia Lestari
Do you ever see your child feel anxious? But you just don’t have any idea what is going on? Maybe your child is experiencing stress. That’s right - children are not stress-free. According to kidshealth.org; stress is a reaction to changes and challenges, which is normal. It’s not only caused by bad events (problems with school and friendship), but impending good events such as graduations, holidays, or new activities can also cause stress.
According to content.ces.ncsu.edu; parents don’t have to be a therapist to help children cope with stress. You can help them by creating a low stress environment by ensuring there are more positive than negative interactions with children, to help them build resilience and feel happy. To anticipate and avoid stress,you can practice “HALT” which means ensuring that your child is not “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.” It is also important to encourage social support for your child so that he/she can have people to lean on during difficult times.
Here are a few ideas to help your child deal with stress based on hopkinsallchildrens.org:
1. Notice out loud
If you notice something is bothering your child, tell him/ her. If possible, name the feeling your child is experiencing, for example “It seems that you’re still mad about what happened at the playground.” Remember to be sympathetic and show you care and want to understand.
2. Listen to your child
Ask and listen to your child attentively and calmly. Try to understand the big picture of the story by asking questions like "And then what happened?" Then show your interest, patience, openness, and caring. Don’t judge, blame, lecture, or say what you think your child should have done instead. You only need to let your child's concerns and feelings be heard.
3. Put a label on it
Children do not know the names for their feelings. Putting them into words helps them communicate and develop emotional awareness - the ability to recognize their own emotional state. Children who can do so are less likely to have behavioral issues because they know how to communicate their feelings with words.
4. Help your child think of things to do
If you know what causes your child stress, talk together about what to do. Try to encourage your child to think of some ideas. You can start the brainstorming process if necessary, but don't do all the work. Your child's active participation will build confidence. Support the good ideas and add to them as needed. Ask, "How do you think this will work?"
5. Just be there
Not every child feels comfortable talking about what is bothering them. That’s alright - you just need to let your child know that you will always be available when they feel like talking. If they still don't want to talk, don’t push them. Keep them company, because it’s what they need.