How to Reduce Childhood Stress Naturally
Is your child a perfectionist? While childhood is usually a fun and enjoyable time, all children experience stress at some point during their lives, especially if they struggle with perfectionism. Children with neurobehavioral disorders, such as sensory processing disorders, OCD and Asperger's, are at an increased risk of stress, due to the ongoing challenges posed by their disorders. These children often prefer sticking to very specific schedules and maintaining a predictable order to their environment. At times this is not possible which can heighten stress levels. If not managed properly, this stress can quickly turn into major meltdowns.
One of the most vital things you can do as a parent is learn techniques to short-circuit your child’s stress levels. Relaxation methods for perfectionist children will reduce your child's anxiety and assist him or her in regaining control and finding calm amidst the chaos. To stop stress from causing your child distress, try these natural stress reduction techniques for kids.
Maintain Consistency When Possible: Children with perfectionism put strong emphasis on being able to predict what’s going to happen next. In order to reduce the stress of changes in a child’s environment, provide certain routines or activities that are consistent regardless of where you are or what you are doing. For example, when traveling, keep mealtimes and bedtimes consistent to minimize the stress of the change in location.
Adopt an Open Door Policy: Your child may not always feel like talking to you, but let him or her know that you are always there. When your child wants you to lend an ear, listen attentively and offer brief and sympathetic insights to show that you understand and care. Even if your child does not want to talk, he or she may find comfort in your presence. If your child does not feel like discussing problems, reduce anxiety naturally by suggesting an activity you can do together, like doing a puzzle or visiting the park.
Remove or Minimize Stressors: Many times perfectionist children exhibit stress due to perceived pressures to succeed. Help your child focus on the process of learning a new skill versus being the best at it and communicate that it’s okay if mistakes are made or obstacles arise. In addition, if certain situations are causing your child excess worry, think up ways to remove, or minimize, potential stressors. For instance, if your child shows signs of distress when playing with large groups of children (which can be perceived as chaotic to a perfectionist), arrange a play date with only one or two other children, and actively monitor your child's stress levels from a distance.
Try Relaxation Techniques: Stress-related anxiety may cause your child to take fast and shallow breaths, which can add to the feeling of distress. Encourage your child to practice deep breathing daily so that he or she can tap into this technique at times of crisis. Meditation is a great relaxation method and will teach your child how to self-regulate.
Lift the Mood Through Music: Music therapy can relax the mind just as effectively as deep breathing and visualization techniques, and you can practice it in the comfort of your own home. By encouraging your child to listen to music and move to the beat, you can play a role in reducing your child's stress levels.
As a parent, it is natural for you to want to take away the cause of your child's stress, but if you are unable to do so, do not take it to heart. While you will usually possess the skills and experience needed to help your child to learn the stress-busting strategies he or she needs to deal with life's many difficulties, do not hesitate to consult a doctor or counselor if, despite your best efforts, you are unable to ease your child's emotional distress.
Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.