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Soothing pint-sized worries

Provided by HealthMonitor

Have you been hearing more complaints about tummy aches or headaches? It's possible your child is stressed out. Studies show that kids pick up on their parents" angst; nearly 20% of children who say their parents are stressed report being stressed themselves, according to a recent American Psychological Association survey. Children are often stressed by moving, divorce, peer pressure or simply being overscheduled. If your child seems moody, irritable or clingy, try these strategies:

Notice when your child is most likely to open up (such as at bedtime or in the car), and be available to listen. He may tell you only part of what's bothering him or be unable to name his feelings. Help him out by asking, "Are you worried? Angry? Scared?" Then try to get at the root of the problem. Is he anxious about going to a new school? Did a classmate tease him?

Make changes
If certain situations are causing stress in your child's life, try to eliminate them. For example, if his after-school activities are creating homework anxiety, then consider cutting back on them. Brainstorm solutions with your child; it will help build confidence.

De-stress together
Take a walk or go for a bike ride with your child. Kids learn how to cope with stress from their parents.

Show you care
Saying something like, "No wonder you felt angry," shows you're sympathetic to your child's feelings. If your child feels understood and supported, he will be better able to cope with stress.

Be there
If your child doesn't feel like talking, just be there for him. Spending time with him may help him feel better. Watch a movie, bake some cookies or toss a ball around.
Anxiety Anxiety Headache Irritability Pain Stress Divorce

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