5 Strategies to Support Your Stressed Out Child
Early this summer, I wrote about a great strategy called Circle of Control, which parents can start using RIGHT AWAY with their stressed out kid! If you missed it, read it HERE.
Circle of Control is a great strategy to help kids learn what they should spend their emotional energy on - whats IN their circle of control, and what they shouldn't - what's OUT of their circle of control. But we know that this strategy might not work with every child or every family.
So here are some additional tips you can start using RIGHT NOW with your kiddo to support them as they learn to cope with stress. I'm confident one of these will work for you and your family.
Reframe Stress - help your child shift from a “stress hurts” to a “stress helps” perspective. Stress can serve a purpose, it’s normal to feel stressed and sometimes it can help to keep us safe. Most of the time it’s temporary. Help your child to see what lessons they might learn or obstacles they might overcome through the stress.
Shift from a FIXED Mindset to a GROWTH Mindset - In looking at the situation via a growth mindset, what can be improved? What can they do to help influence the situation in a positive way? Help them to explore the power they have in ways to make the situation better.
Stop Catastrophic Thinking - Ask your child, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Then validate how they feel (don’t dismiss their feelings - no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you). Ask your child how likely this scenario will happen or if there are other situations that are MORE likely to happen? The purpose is to help them work through the “worst” they think could happen.
Practice Problem-Solving - Brainstorm solutions, doing more listening than talking. Allow them to think through the possible consequences of each idea they come up with (both positive and negative) and then help them to choose one.
Stress-Management Techniques - Attempt different calming strategies such as practicing mindfulness, stretching, listening to music, meditation, deep breathing, visualization activities, or progressive relaxation strategies. www.GoNoodle.com is another great resource for child-friendly activities.
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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]