1. Face up to stress. Don’t think,”Everyone else handles pressure, so why can’t I?” Ignoring feelings backfires; stress festers. So take time to take care of yourself. If it’s hard to justify, do it for your kids. Just as flight attendants instruct, if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you won’t be able to help your child through stressful situations.
2. Take a deep breath. Manage stress in the healthiest possible ways. Do what soothes you best, whether that’s taking a moment for yourself, luxuriating in a hot bath, or watching mindless TV. If you’re calm, you’ll think more clearly and solve problems better. Besides, if you’re in a frenzy, you’ll send your child’s stress into the red zone.
3. Retain perspective. Whatever’s causing your stress, remember that bad times usually end. If it’s your kids who are struggling, making you worried or frustrated, remind yourself that childhood is full of temporary struggles.
4. Talk about pressures. When kids sense something’s up but don’t know the facts, they usually conjure up worst-case scenarios. Give them age-appropriate explanations (using the few words possible) and reassure them that they’re loved and safe. Make your tone of voice and body posture as warm and comforting as your words. Then let kids ask questions and talk about their feelings; research shows that greatly reduces their fear and anxiety about stressful experiences.
5. Get emotional support. There’s no shame in asking for help. Connecting with people is one of the most powerful stress-reducers, especially for women. Rely on the wise, nurturing, and trustworthy people in your life who care about you and your kids. Let them help.
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