What inspired you to write Stress, Anxiety, and Me?
We cannot protect our children from experiencing adversity or uncomfortable feelings, but we can help prepare them to manage future challenges in a healthy way! Stress, Anxiety, and Me is the fifth book in a planned 10 book series (My Emotions Series) designed to help prepare children to manage inevitable life challenges and emotions such as grief and loss, self-esteem, resilience, stress, etc.
Stress, Anxiety, and Me explains what stress is, how it feels, and offers helpful coping strategies … that are equally helpful for grown-ups too!
What are some signs that may indicate a child is feeling stress?
As busy parents and caregivers, we can easily forget our children feel stress too. There are many things that can cause stress for children such as friendship problems, starting a new school, friction and/or unhappiness in the home environment, the death of a family member, or feeling unsupported.
Children do not always have sophisticated language skills to express their needs and feelings, so we need to be highly attuned to their emotional and behavioural cues as their way of communicating with us.
Some common signs your child may be feeling stress are: trouble sleeping, upset tummy, wetting their bed, not able to relax, new nervous habits, being clingy, amongst many other things.
What are some effective techniques to help children when they feel stressed and anxious?
Stress in children can cause changes in their typical behaviour and manifest as emotional and physical symptoms (described in this book). These feelings and symptoms may be very confusing and uncomfortable for them, so it is important to encourage your child to be ‘in tune’ with their bodies and recognise how stress feels, label their feelings, and feel comfortable and safe sharing their worries with you.
First and foremost, it is important to model healthy stress management — your child will echo the behaviours they observe in you.
And notice when your child is worried about something. Let them know that you have noticed that they seem to be worried or bothered, and gently ask them if they would like to talk about it. Show that you care and explain you would like to understand what is worrying them. If you are aware of a future event or situation that may be stressful for your child — let them know in advance, discuss ways to prepare for it, and let them know that you will support them through it.
Some helpful stress-relieving things your child could try are: breathing exercises, identify the things they can and cannot control, physical activity, talk with a trusted adult, or do an activity they love doing. These techniques, and others, are described in more detail in the book.
What is some language parents can use with children to explain and help them deal with stress?
Discussing tricky or uncomfortable emotions can be challenging for many parents and caregivers — and it is important to acknowledge we are limited in what we can teach by our own experience and knowledge.
Stress, Anxiety, and Me — along with the other books in the My Emotions Series — provide a gentle way in which to broach difficult subject matters for young children, adolescents, and adults alike. An activity and helpful notes to parents and caregivers can be found at the back of each book.
Stress can change how we think, how we behave, and the choices we make, and has a profound effect on our mental and physical wellbeing. This book is a great reminder that stress is ‘normal’ and we all experience stress at different times, in varying intensities, about different things … and … in short bursts, stress can provide valuable learning opportunities for children to practise dealing with difficult situations at a young age.
Stress Anxiety, and Me is stocked by leading bookstores and retailers. Further information can be found at tracemoroney.com