If you can, make questions concerning your child’s day part of your daily routine during a certain moment that you’ll be spending together and use these discussions as a foundation for building greater trust with your child as well as an opportunity to think of solutions together. It is possible that during this period of transition, your child has been struggling with various situations, in which case, after discussing with them the reasons for this struggle you can explore their resources for handling it. Of course you can be there for them when they need you, but it’s also important for them to learn how to face certain situations autonomously in order to build confidence in themselves.
You can suggest them to try some techniques such as listed below, making sure to discuss with your child the manner in which they are going to do the chosen technique and its effect on them once they’ve tried it:
- Breathing slowly with their belly when they are stressed.
- Imagining a pleasant, happy memory that can help them feel more relaxed and secure when they are feeling anxious.
- Comforting themselves in their thoughts as if they were trying to help a very good friend that was struggling.
- Asking themselves how their teacher, friend or parents would interpret the situation.
- Smelling, listening to, tasting, looking at or touching something that creates positive thoughts or emotions and shifts their attention from the uncomfortable event.
- Accepting the challenge of the situation and creating an empowering philosophy around it: “it is making me a stronger person”, “It’s teaching me to deal with tough situations”, “it’s making me learn more about myself and my friends”, etc.
- Remembering how they’ve dealt with other difficult situations and change in the past.
It is also possible that in discussing your child’s daily experiences in handling the transition, you will find out that they have been dealing with their new environment reasonably well. In this case, you can discuss with them their interpretations of their experience and find out the techniques they’ve been using to support themselves.
Whether your child has been struggling or not, make sure you reinforce your child’s efforts to use these self-regulating strategies to help them better manage their stress.
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