With term 4 approaching, in addition to the way life has been for our little ones this year, the prospect of returning to school may cause your child/ren to feel some anxiety.
Here are some ways you can react positively to times your child is experiencing a challenging emotion.
A child may exhibit the following behaviours if experiencing stress:
- Avoidance of day-to-day interactions
- Avoidance of sensory activities
- Becoming over excited
- Appearing to ‘zone out’ or not be listening
- Exhibiting behaviours that cause others to become stressed
- Engaging in soothing behaviours
What you can do and say:
- Be aware of your own stress levels before responding to your child/ren
- Try to see beyond the behaviours and understand what the child might be feeling but is unable to tell you
- Be consistent, predictable and repetitive eg: have the same meal time and bed time each day and have the same routine, like reading a book before bed
- Spend time together discussing their feelings and emotions rather than sending your child/ren to time out eg: “I can see you’re having a rough time, how about you come sit next to me.” Or “You look sad today, I can tell because you have tears in your eyes.”
- Model and explain your stress management techniques eg: “I’m feeling a bit worried so I’m going to sit quietly and take 10 deep breaths.”
There are many effective resources available to help ease the transition and to help children to understand and manage their “big feelings”.