One of the most difficult things about parenting is watching your child struggle. Sometimes these struggles can turn out to be a good thing: through adversity children learn their own strengths and move their own boundaries. However, sometimes they are trying to handle things which are too big for them, which results in symptoms similar to one of an adult: upset stomach, trouble sleeping, and headaches. Instead of putting your kids on medication, it’s better if you find natural ways to help them cope with stress.
Talk about emotions
We all tend to ignore or suppress feelings of stress and anxiety because we see them as ‘bad’, and our children do the same because they learn from us. Talk openly with your children about emotions and tell them that it’s perfectly fine to feel sad, stressed, angry, and afraid sometimes. Encourage them to recognize their own emotions and express them clearly. Practice saying “Mommy, I’m scared/angry/sad” because sometimes just by saying these things they will feel better.
A healing cup of tea
In Japan, Russia, and England, drinking tea is an important ritual which takes a lot of time and preparation. It’s not just the act of drinking tea, but the atmosphere and the air of tranquility which the ritual brings. You can try this in your home with your kids, too: make a ritual of tea time. Invite your children to help you prepare some delicious herbal teas, use nice cups, have a couple of cookies, and sit together for a while. The act of preparing tea with you will excite your child, a casual conversation will take their mind off what’s bothering them, and if you use mint, chamomile, and ginseng teas, you will help your child relax further because these plants are known for their stress relieving properties.
Let them do what they love
Sometimes your child is so busy with school activities that they don’t have time or energy to do something they love. If your child loves to dance more than anything, why not buy them new dancing shoes and sign them up for dancing lessons? Or if they love soccer, why not get them some quality soccer gear and let them fulfill their dream of being a soccer player? The point is not to push them or make them do an activity just because you think it’s good for them. Their enthusiasm and genuine love is what is important, and if they get a chance to do what they love, they will let go of all the negative energy which stress brings.
Simple meditations will help your child feel better and help them get a better understanding of their body and emotions. Easy breathing exercises which don’t take more than ten minutes will calm them down quickly, and even a simple act of closing their eyes and imagining they are in a calm and beautiful environment can work, too. You can meditate with them: both you and your child can close your eyes and you can try to describe a beautiful beach and a sunset. These simple activities allow the troubled mind to calm down and tense body to relax.
As a parent, you wish to be there for your child at all times, through thick and thin, and you wish to help them any way you can. The most important thing is to be close to your child, to talk to them openly, and to encourage them to confide their worries in you. This way, they will know that they can rely on you, and in turn you will know when they’re dealing with too much and be able to step in and offer a helping hand.