Liz Pearce, Children’s Museum of Richmond
Stress will reveal itself in your child’s behaviors. Have you seen these?
Success and joy at the end of school can be short-lived if your child thrives on routine and schedules.
We must teach them how to decompress, shift gears and make the transition: Here’s what to do:
· Label the feelings that you see. Help them identify what stress looks like. Say, “You look like you are feeling angry / disappointed / frustrated. Can you tell me what’s going on?” Then listen. Really listen.
· Teach them stress relieving skills, even from an early age.Show them how to take deep breaths to relax, or count to 10 before they make a choice. Encourage them to be aware of their own self-talk, and how to turn negative self-talk (“I can’t do it”) into positive self-talk (“I think I can!).
· Avoid rescuing your child each time he or she is disappointed or experiences failure. Be a role-model - Show your child how to fix his mistakes, and how to overcome poor choices. Teach her how to apologize to others, and how to forgive herself for making mistakes. Move through the mistake, and then MOVE ON.
· Be present for your child. If he or she doesn’t want to talk, just being near them and supporting them can be as important as teaching them a new skill.
Know that your job as a parent is to prepare the child for the world, whether it’s how to handle joy and success, or how to handle disappointment or stress.