How to Comfort Your Child During Stressful Situations
There’s no question that the world can be a scary, overwhelming place – even for adults! Imagine how much bigger and scarier it can be for children. Whether your child doesn’t fully understand a situation or they seem to have specific phobias, there are plenty of scenarios that can cause them stress.
That’s the last thing you want to see, as a parent.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help your child calm down during stressful situations, and learn how to cope with stress on a larger scale so they’ll be more equipped to handle those issues in the future.
So, what can you do to comfort your child now and help them cope with stress whenever it comes up? Let’s cover some helpful, practical tips that will make stress management a greater priority in your home.
Know Their Triggers
You might find that even though your child is typically calm and happy, certain things stress them out or cause them to worry. Understanding your child’s stressors and triggers will help you come up with specific “plans” to keep them calm.
For example, it’s not uncommon for kids to have a fear of going to the dentist. You can help to ease that worry by properly preparing them for their visit. Things like talking about it at home, discussing the importance of good oral health, and using positive reinforcement are all great ways to help your child stay calm before and during their appointment. Other common triggers that can cause stress in children include
- Worrying about school
- Problems with friends
- Busy schedules
- Major life changes
Understanding what’s causing your child to experience the effects of stress will help you learn how to calm them down quickly. It will also help you recognize the difference between situational and chronic stress, so you can make sure you’re getting your child the help they need.
Create a Calming Environment
Environment plays a big role in mental health. Where you are can impact your mood, anxiety levels, and how stressed you feel. It can impact your children, too. Creating a calming environment for your child – especially when they’re prone to not dealing well with stress – can make a big difference in how they cope with difficult situations.
Obviously, your child’s ideal environment should be based on what makes them happy and calm. But, there are a few ideas that will almost always make a positive difference.
- Bringing in their favorite toys or stuffed animals
- Utilizing color psychology to create a room with calming tones
- Using essential oils as natural stress-reducers
Things like bringing nature inside can also help to encourage a calming environment. Houseplants aren’t just for grown-ups! Bringing nature indoors with plants can reduce anxiety and stress, boost your child’s mood, and give them a sense of responsibility if you encourage them to care for each plant. They can serve as healthy distractions to take your little one’s mind away from whatever situation might be causing their stress.
You know your child better than anyone, so consider what brings them the most comfort, and ensure they have a safe space within your home to go when they’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation.
Don’t Fix Every Problem
There are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re trying to comfort your child. Most importantly, just be there. Everyone wants to feel heard and validated when they’re anxious, and your child is no different. By providing a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on, you’ll be doing more for them than you realize. They need to know that you can be a “safe space” for them, and they can turn to you with any problem.
With that in mind, however, it’s just as important to make sure your child is learning and growing through every stressful situation. As a parent, it’s tempting to want to fix every problem and make life easy for your child. But, that won’t help them learn how to manage stress on their own as they get older.
After listening to their concerns and letting them know you understand, talk with them about how to work through the problem. Put a label on what they’re dealing with, and commit to being problem-solvers together. By working through enough issues with your child, they will eventually build the skills on their own to work through a stressful situation and cope in healthy ways.
Make sure you’re being patient. While you don’t have to solve every problem, it might also take some time for your child to work things out on their own. Be confident that they’re listening to you and growing from your advice, even when it doesn’t seem like it. While it may not be easy to let them work things out on their own, you can take comfort in knowing they’ll have a better handle on stress by the time they reach adulthood.
No matter what stressful situation your child is going through, you can do your part to help them find comfort. Put some of these solutions into practice, and not only will your child feel better during stressful times, but they’ll learn how to cope faster by themselves. In this stressful and overwhelming world, that’s an important skill to have.