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When it feels like we can't cope, we begin to worry and get stressed and exactly the same is true of children. There are certain times when children might not not be calm: at times of great change such as moving house, parents separating or divorcing, when changing class or school, or making new friends.
Signs that your child might be stressed:
- They become aggressive
- They become withdrawn and very quiet
- They burst into tears easily
- They gain a reputation for being 'a worrier'.
Ways to help keep your child stress free:
- Keep a routine: children feel secure when they are in a good routine. They know what's going to happen next and how things work. If there is going to be a change then tell them and explain to them.
- Be organised: Help your child to be organised too by preparing for school the night before. Make sure everything is ready such as their bag, dinner money, PE kit, letters. Try and develop a system together to make sure things are ready. Hang book bags in a special place, keep shoes near the front door.
- Be on time: It's never a good feeling to be late, so try to make yourself on time or early for school or clubs etc. even if it means getting up early or leaving the house before normal!
- Be a role model: Try and be calm and organised yourself and show how to run a calm house and lifestyle.
- Have a chat: Make sure you speak to your children and listen to any worries or concerns. Take their worries seriously and be positive, supportive and encourage calm discussion rather than brush it off as unimportant.
- Try to imagine how they feel: put yourself in their shoes.
- Tell stories: Share stories in which people overcome fears or worries and succeed. Go to the library to find some books and share your own experiences or make up stories to show how to deal with concerns.
- Praise: Give plenty of encouragement and praise.
- Focus on the positive and their self esteem will grow. Congratulate them when they do well and tell them how good they have been etc.
- Bedtime: Make sure you have a calm and happy bed time. Read stories, have a bubbly bath, keep it calm and positive leaving all worries outside the bedroom.
- Be kind: Try to remember they are only little and in order for the children to grown in confidence and learn they need to feel supported and loved.