Reducing Your Child’s Stress & Anxiety as a Parent
Let me set the scene.
You are rushing to get your children ready for school and out the door in the morning. You feel like you have everything they need and it’s time to go. You say “let’s go, get in the car and we will head off to school”.
Then one of your children won’t step out the door. He’s frozen up and he is beginning to make excuses as to why he should not go to school. Maybe you argue with him for a while and he finally steps out of the door, gets in the car feeling defeated.
If you have been in this situation, know that you are not alone. Those moments are tough for any parent and child. No one wins in these kinds of situations. As parents, it may not even seem scary to go to school or to step out the door but we cannot underestimate our child’s fear and anxiety.
What can we as parents do to help reduce the stress and anxiety in our child’s life?
1. Seek to understand your child
Be compassionate towards your child during these high-stress moments – it helps them open up and allows you to understand what they are going through.
Ask your child good questions that will allow them to define what they are feeling, what is stopping them and how they can move forward. They could be feeling lots of pressure to perform, excel or succeed – you won’t know until you ask.
Be as calm as possible. Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and take a deep breath with your child. In these moments, take the time to pray to God together. This allows both of you to refocus and this reminds you that God is the ultimate Healer and Comforter. Your child can take comfort knowing that God is sovereign and in complete control.
2. Tell your child that it’s okay to be imperfect
Some children feel the pressure to be the best at everything. School becomes about grades rather than the enjoyment of learning. Sports becomes about winning rather than the teamwork and fun it brings. It is important for your child to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and fail sometimes. However, this does not mean that you do not tell your child to strive and work hard because that is equally important.
Our imperfections point us to our need for Jesus. Whenever your child fails or makes a mistake, it is a great opportunity to share the story of the Gospel with them.
3. Encourage a good sleep routine
Sleep can be underestimated but it has the power to recharge, refresh and re energise us. Getting enough sleep is important to carry out daily activities. Set a bedtime for the children and follow it even on the weekends.
Sit down with your children and create a bedtime routine that they can follow 30-45 minutes before they go to bed. This allows them to wind down from the day and settle into bed.
4. Schedule relaxing activities
When was the last time your family did something just for the fun of it? Even children need time to relax and just be kids. Add a relaxing activity like camping, playing board games or painting to the family calendar. Disconnect from the world and just have fun with each other.
5. Help your child solve the problem
Once you have demonstrated that you understand and are truly listening to what your child is going through, emotionally and mentally, you can start helping them solve the problem. You do not need to solve it for them but you can guide them to identify potential solutions. If they cannot think of any, suggest some solutions and ask them to pick which one they think will work best.
Note: It’s important to remember every child is unique and there isn’t a perfect formula to solve anxiety problems. Take it one step at a time and never give up.
As a parent with an anxious child, it’s important to remember that you did not cause your child’s anxiety but you can help them overcome it. This may be a long and hard journey for you and your child but don’t lose hope. Above all, lift this up to God and let Him work through you. He is always there for you both.
For more helpful resources from NT Christian Schools, like us on Facebook.
To find out more aboutOur Schools, Click Here.