Many parents would agree that pressure is a dirty word. From an early age, the pressure put on our kids from school and friendship can lead to issues such as childhood anxiety and cause problems with self-esteem and performance. We will never be able to relieve our children of all this pressure–and we wouldn’t want to because they will always face it to some extent in their lives.
Instead, we can give them several tools to help them develop coping skills when they feel the pressure weighing down on them. As always, if they continue to struggle, consider seeking medical advice.
Play With Time
Much of the pressures we face in life have time limits, whether it be math tests in elementary school or huge choices like college application deadlines. As such, you should ensure that your children feel comfortable performing under time pressures.
You can make this a fun exercise by playing games in which they are challenged to complete multiple tasks before a timer goes off. This could be an obstacle course, treasure hunt, trivia quiz, or a cooking challenge. You could even sign them and their friends up for an escape room event where they will have to work as a team to answer questions, find clues, and determine a way out of the room within one hour. These small tasks are enjoyable for the entire family, while also providing practical benefits related to time management. Through activities like these, your calm child will learn to make the best decisions possible, even with the clock ticking.
Encourage A Love Of Sports
There are many reasons why you should want your kids to play sports. In addition to health benefits, group sports develop teamwork. And, although it’s less obvious, they also go a long way towards getting your little one used to performing under pressure. Of course, a friendly catch in the park with a parent won’t have the same impact as an arranged baseball game with a league. By joining a team, your kids will adjust to playing under scrutiny and dealing with pressure to do well on the field. All you need to do is encourage them as much as you can in a positive way. Buy some equipment and seek local classes to get your kids started on their team building and competitive (yet friendly and fun) sports skills.
Take Mindful Breaks
Mindfulness activities are effective tools for our kids to tap into when they feel overwhelmed. Mindfulness means being fully present in the moment in a non-judgmental way. We can help our kids build coping skills by learning how to practice mindfulness in a number of ways, including mindful coloring, color meditation, mindful eating, breathing exercises, and yoga. It is especially helpful to incorporate some mindfulness into your children’s afterschool routine to give them that much-needed space between their school day and evening activities.
Nothing brings more pressure than a difficult decision. Yet, we often try to stop our children from having to make tough choices. When they are young, we decide what they wear, where they go, what activities they participate in, and who they invite to their birthday party. By letting them take the reins as they get older, this will help them learn how to more effectively deal with typical decision pressures.
Don’t worry, these don’t have to be life-changing decisions that you turn over to your kids. Consider allowing them to help choose a new color paint for their bedroom or which toy to purchase for their friend’s birthday. Before you know it, they will be able to make significant decisions without always relying on you or feeling stressed out about it.
How do you keep your kids calm and able to cope with pressure?