I think we can all agree this has been a stressful year. I know I’m ready to move on to 2021. One of the most important things I learned in 2020 was the importance of stress management. I’m still learning and working on it, but taking little precautions and steps to manage my stress makes a HUGE difference.
We don’t often think about childhood stress and anxiety. Kids don’t have bills to pay, right? But they still have plenty to worry about. And with technology and information more accessible than ever before, they might be more aware of the world and its troubles than we realize.
Stress can be hard to handle for a child who is still learning to understand complex feelings and emotions. That’s why we’ve put together a list of six tips to help reduce your child’s stress and anxiety. If you have additional ideas and tips, leave them in the comments!
6 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Stress and Anxiety:
1. Art and Creative Activities
Art is one of the best emotional outlets for children and adults. There are no rules, there is no wrong way to do it. Bust out those craft supplies and make something silly and fun. Hands-on projects are engaging and soothing and make for great distractions and calming activities. For some project and activity ideas, head to The Winkle YouTube Channel.
2. Create a Safe Place to Make Mistakes
A lot of children experience performance anxiety. One of the best things you can do for your child is give them a safe place to experiment and make mistakes. An easy way to do this is to try new creative projects. Things won’t always work out, but that can be a valuable learning opportunity for your child. Mess up with them! They’ll see that it’s not as bad as they think.
3. Establish a Nighttime Routine
Sleep affects everything from your mood to your energy levels. Getting a good night’s sleep can help you face the day with a clear head and rested body. For kids, sleep is especially important for growth and development. One way to help promote a good night’s sleep is to implement a nightly routine. Turn off the screens (blue light emissions keep your body alert and awake), turn on a lamp for some soft lighting. Read a book, cuddle, whatever helps your child relax best. Sticking to the same pattern every night will help your child wind down and get better sleep.
4. Limit Screen Time
Take it one step further from your nightly routine and limit screen time during the day, too. If your child is engaging in at-home learning, they might be getting more screen time than they’re used to. Balance it out with extra time being active and away from devices. Go for a walk. Play some board games together. Kids need to move and play!
5. Talk About Feelings
If your child says that they’re scared, don’t dismiss their emotions with an easy “You’re okay” or “There’s no need to be scared.” Your child’s feelings are real, and validating them can help them see that you understand them. Ask your child why they feel that way, and work together to brainstorm some solutions. Get your child involved in the problem solving! They will learn to better identify and manage their emotions with a little coaching and patience.
6. Set an Example
Kids see everything. When you spill the milk at breakfast, they notice how you react and mirror what they see. It isn’t always easy, but if you can manage to maintain a positive outlook, your child will mirror that behavior instead.
We hope these tips help you and your child manage stress a little better. It is a process, so be patient with yourself and take it one day at a time. Managing stress takes practice. Remember, you’re not alone.
One of our biggest goals is to make your life easier. We’re cheering you on!