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How to help a stressed kid?


All the kids feel stressed sometimes. Childhood can be frustrating and also full of new happenings. Stress is caused by different factors in the children lives. When comes the time to separate themselves from the parents, conflicts with other kids, school life, disagreements between parents and events in the news can make them feel scared or stressed too. Every new situation or sudden change can become a source of anxiety and insecurity which is seeing as an attack in their mind.


All the children are different and depending on their personality, sensitivity and maturity, they don’t have the same copying mechanism when facing a stressful situation.

Being a little nervous/stressed/ anxious from time to time is normal, it’s part of living life. Our brains are equipped to deal with this feeling. However, if it’s too frequent and release too much of the cortisol hormones then it impacts negatively their health and their emotional balance. At that point, we have to do something, to help them so they can have a joyful childhood.


What can we do then to help them cope with the daily stress?


As parents we get a lot of answers by simply observing our children. So, the first thing would be to try to identify the source of stress. Which situation makes them cry or sleep badly? (going to school, relationship with peers, academic pressures etc…), tension between parents, a change in their life (a move, a separation, a transition etc.). If it’s difficult to find out what is happening, then we have to talk with them without asking too many questions as they make them feel uncomfortable. On the way to school or before going to bed are a good time to connect with them and try to find cues.


It's also important to have a look at their hygiene. When their food intake and hours of sleep are not enough or of bad quality, it becomes a source of stress on the children body. A body which is under stress will ask for more sugary snacks/food so be careful with their diet. One of the best way to naturally reduce the level of cortisol in the blood is to exercise.

When we implement stable routines with the same bedtime, a balanced diet and still times we are helping our children to have a healthy lifestyle. If we want them to have healthy habits as adults, we have to model that to them at a young age.


By keeping a nice and calm atmosphere at home, helps them too because it gives them a constant. They know they have a safe space to come back to when things in the outside world are being overwhelming for them. A home full of love, laughter and warmness will naturally soothe them when they need it.


The next thing would be doing a little introspection for us parents and looking at our own emotional state. It is required sometimes as our wellbeing impacts our whole family wellbeing. Our kids they know us and they can see it when we are not at our best, even if we don’t communicate it.


When we give the space to create moments of interactions in our everyday life with our kids, they will have the opportunity to vent and unpack their feelings to process them and let them go. Us being there to refill their emotional jug is essential in their development.


Offer more love. When children are having a hard time, we must offer our presence more and show them more love and affection.



When we play with them, it helps them in so many ways. It’s very therapeutic for them. Alternating active games with more relaxed ones and sharing laughs, is the best stress antidote.


Helping them be more confident. By signing them up to activities or sports they like even if we don’t approve. It’s not about us parents but about them. Being good at something make them see their strengths. When we ask them their opinion to take some decisions, they feel valued and part of the process. Stimulating their autonomy and letting them solve some problems on their own. The trust we are giving them and showing them will show them they can trust themselves. Offering them some independence by doing some tasks more and more elaborate without us will also reinforce their self-esteem and confidence.


Be careful with their agenda. An agenda too “micromanaged” can also be too much for them. If there are activities that we have chosen for them, it might be time to readjust it to the activities they truly love instead. Having time for them to be bored and using their imagination would be beneficial too. They need to have still time in their day. A time without screens or stimulations. Calmer activities such as drawing, listening some music, playing an instrument, or just talking to the parents help them process all the information they’ve received during the day. Not having those moments of relax will generate tiredness which can provoke physical and mental stress.


Limit their screen consummation. Too much screen time will harm their concentration and creativity. Screens can affect their sleep, their appetite and their emotional wellbeing. The more are the children fragile emotionally, the more they will be attracted by this source of pleasure: which is used as an escape and can lead to dependency. We know that cartoons or video games will never replace real interactions with parents and/or friends.


In the end, our constant support will calm them down and make them feel better.  All the stressful situations will show them their strengths and their abilities to deal with their emotions. They will become more and more confident by being able to face the difficult moments of life. Finally, they will realise that they are more capable of doing things by themselves than they think.


Camille Le Boulba




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