Five things you can do to help children cope during challenging or worrying situations,
1. Listen and talk
- Help children identify their concerns or worries; and
- acknowledge how they are feeling.
- For example, you could say, “it sounds like you’re really worried about who you will play with at school tomorrow.”
2. Provide reassurance and comfort
- There may be times when children don’t want to talk and just having a parent or carer nearby engaging in a shared activity or giving them a cuddle is helpful.
- Reassure children when they are feeling worried or unsure.
- For example, you could say, “it is a big playground but there is an area for just the little kids to play.”
3. Model ways that you cope with situations
- Demonstrate how you cope with a situation,
- for example, you could say, “I am going to take five deep breaths to help myself relax.”
4. Encourage children to ask for help
- Teach children that it is okay to ask for help when they need it.
- For example, asking a teacher for help to open their lunch box.
5. Problem-solve the situation with them
- Work with them to solve a problem using a step-by-step process.
- For example, you can break down a big task into smaller steps and
- guide them to build their skills so they can eventually complete the whole task on their own.
Helping children managing strong emotions
- When faced with difficult or challenging situations children can feel:
- worried or
- perhaps distressed.
- It can be hard for children to think clearly at these times, and it makes communication and cooperation difficult.
- If your child is experiencing a strong emotion, it’s important to acknowledge it and be nearby to support your child.
- You may also consider teaching your child strategies to calm themselves. Some suggestions include:
- counting to ten
- taking five deep breaths
- jumping on the trampoline
- going to a quiet place
- playing with toys.
Source: APS initiative, KidsMatter @ www.kidsmatter.edu.au