8. Let Your Youngster Explore
Preschoolers and kindergartners love
to learn, but children learn in different ways. Some parents tend to
direct their children too much. Try stepping back and letting your child
explore, learn, question, and discover on her own. Instead of
constantly saying, “Did you see this? What do you think of that? How do
you think this works? What might you do with this?” let your child take
the lead. She just might teach you something, and you’ll be reinforcing
her confidence in her own learning style.
9. Help Kids De-Stress for School
Once children start school,
it’s easy for parents to overschedule them, especially kids with many
interests. Music lessons, swimming lessons, soccer practice,
baby-sitting, T-ball, homework, art class, gymnastics, scouting,
socializing with friends, family time, dance class, chores—when do kids
have a chance to relax and do nothing? Free time is actually empowering
for children. During free time, children get to direct their own
10. Keep Teens Out of Trouble
Being a teenager or a preteenager is
always difficult because of the surge of hormonal changes teenagers
experience with puberty. Many teenagers suffer from depression,
self-doubt, anger, hopelessness, and other intense emotions, even in
response to situations adults wouldn’t necessary consider stressful.
Many teens today also have to deal with extreme circumstances, from a
nasty divorce at home to the threat or actual occurrence of violence in
or after school.
It’s a tricky job,
parenting a teen, and many parents get by with their fingers crossed.
But even if your teen resists sharing her intense emotions with you,
make sure she always knows she can. Keep the lines of communication open
and pay attention so that you’ll notice when your teen’s stress level
11. Help Your Stressed-Out Teen
Here are some important things you can do for your stressed-out teen:
• Be consistent.
• Don’t lose your temper.
• Let your teen know you are always there; be a solid foundation.
• Let your teen know you love her, no matter what.
• Let your teen know he can always count on you to help him if he’s in trouble.
• Make it clear what behaviors you think are wrong, and why.
• Set a good example by practicing stress management yourself.
• Provide opportunities for your teen to practice stress management techniques with you.
• Keep talking.
• Don’t give up!
12. Be a Role Model
Healthy kids are more likely to
handle the average stresses of life with ease. Lay the foundation for
great health habits by teaching your kids how to take care of
themselves. Set a good example by practicing good health habits
yourself. You might also try these tips:
• Serve water instead of sugary drinks.
• Keep healthy snacks in the house instead of junk food.
• Encourage daily activity. If kids aren’t involved in school sports, look into other organized fitness opportunities.
• Make exercise a family affair. Walk, ride bicycles, jog, or run together.
• Encourage self-expression. Many kids enjoy drawing, making things out of clay, building structures, or writing.
13. Make Time for Family
Making time for family or for just
doing nothing is important for teaching kids that overachieving isn’t
always the answer. Reserve at least one evening each week as family
night. Encourage a leisurely, relaxed evening together with no scheduled
activities. Play games, make dinner together, talk, laugh, and take a
walk or a bike ride. Your kids will always remember this together time,
and these evenings put a nice pause in busy schedules.
14. Encourage Communication
Keep the lines of communication open.
Let your kids know you are there to listen, and let them know what
things are important to you. You know those commercials that tell you to
talk to your kids about smoking, drinking, or drugs? Those are all
important discussions, but you can also talk to your kids about other
things that are potential stressors, like peer pressure, how they are
enjoying or not enjoying different classes in school, how they feel
about the various activities with which they are involved, who their
friends are, and how they feel about themselves.
15. Follow the Seven Steps
Memorizing a few stress management
strategies can give kids access to help when they need it most—during a
test, on a date, before a big performance. Show this list to your kids,
post it on the refrigerator, or, better yet, e-mail it to them. They
might just read it, and they might even use it.
1. Talk about it. Feeling
stressed? Tell a friend. Call it a vent, a rant, or a rage, but do it!
Share your stress daily and you’ll ease the burden. Listen to a friend
venting stress and ease your friend’s burden, too.
2. Go with the flow. Things aren’t
what you expected? That friend isn’t who you thought? That class is way
harder than you think you can handle? Go with the flow. Move along
with changes in your life rather than resist them.
3. Find a mentor. Parents are
great, but sometimes you feel more ready for advice from a nonparental
adult. Teachers, counselors, coaches, bosses, aunts, uncles, ministers,
priests, or other adult friends who have already been through what you
are going through can make great mentors.
4. Get organized. That test
wouldn’t be so stressful if you hadn’t lost all your notes. You might be
able to relax a little more easily in your room if you could get from
the door to the bed without stepping on piles of junk. Work out a
system that you can live with, and get organized.
5. Establish good habits now.
You’ve probably seen adults who have obviously led a life of bad health
habits and are paying for it now. This doesn’t have to be you. If you
start forming good health habits while you are still a kid, you’ll have a
healthier life ahead of you.
6. Adjust your attitude. Sometimes
it’s easiest to be cynical or expect the worst, but studies show that
people who have a positive attitude get sick less often, recover from
sickness and injuries faster, and may even live longer. Life is a lot
more fun when you look on the positive side.
7. See the big picture. Life may
seem to revolve around that humiliating thing you said in front of the
whole class last week or that failing grade or the team you didn’t
make. Whenever things seem horrible or hopeless, remind yourself to step
back and look at the big picture.