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ASK THE EXPERT: This Is How You're Not Letting Your Child Say "No"

So your child doesn't seem to enjoy school as much as before. Dr. Vanessa Van Auer of VA Psychology Center explains what could be the case.


Being a kid can be a pretty stressful gig, what with parental expectations, school assignments and conflicts with friends.

While a healthy dose of stress can be productive, consistent or extreme exposure to stress and pressure can be harmful for your child.

If your child is no longer as excited about seeing her friends at school or seems to be overly stressed out, perhaps it's time to take things down a notch. Here's how.

More on The Finder:
10 Simple Ways To Help Your Child Handle Back-To-School Blues
Why Your Child Isn't Telling You About Their Problems At School


How can I help my child handle stress in a positive manner?

This really starts at home with you. Teaching your child to problem-solve, to be able to say “no” to commitments or requests when her capacity is already at maximum – instead of intervening on her behalf – can help you foster a confident and less anxious child.


Do you have any tips to recommend?

Yes, I do! Here are five simple ones you can practice with your child:

Do not overextend

Your or your child may be tempted to sign up for after-school activities, but remember, kids need downtime after having to pay attention, listen to instructions and complete school work for hours on end.

Don't force extra-curricular activities on your child excessively, and teach your child that quality “me” time is important for her to recharge for the next day.

Set aside time for unstructured play 

Encourage your child to engage in play, games or activities at home that relaxes her. It must be something she chooses freely and makes her feel good.

This time should not be structured by adults, associated with school or competitive or lesson-based.

Teach and practice relaxation strategies 

Simple relaxation strategies like visualisation, breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation can be done virtually anywhere – even in school or before an exam.

This will help her keep calm when facing a stressful situation.

Identifying the body's stress signals 

Teach your child to identify his or her personal symptoms, which may include nausea, difficulty in breathing or sleeping and even over- or undereating, so that she can either approach you for support or engage in relaxation techniques she has learned.

Prioritise sleep

Sleep is one of the best ways to combat stress, and improve your child’s mood and school performance.

Ban the telly and other electronic devices from your child’s bedroom and encourage her to engage in a soothing pre-bedtime routine like reading or listening to music to help her drift off into slumberland.


From The Finder, November 2016

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