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The transition back to school can always spike stress levels in our young ones – especially if they’ve been remote learning. Psychologi­st Tara Hurster advises how to help and communicat­e with kids who may be experienci­ng feelings of stress and anxiety.


Encouragin­g your child to practise mindfulnes­s is a great way to reduce stress and enhance their resilience to cope with the term ahead.

Tara suggests using resources such as the Smiling Mind app. “It’s a great app and has age-appropriat­e activities for children, which you can all do as a family. Just choose the activity for the youngest member of the group participat­ing and you can all join in!”

In fact, practising mindfulnes­s yourself can

influence how your child handles their own anxiety.

Psychologi­sts refer to this is as ‘modelling’ and Tara explains this as teaching others by doing the behaviour ourselves.

“Children learn by modelling, so when parents actively engage in helpful activities and share this with their children, that helps the children to become involved, too.”


Prioritisi­ng activities that improve your child’s wellbeing and setting healthy boundaries can help reduce stress.

“Help your child to have healthy sleep hygiene practices, such as going to sleep around the same time each day and waking up around the same time too” suggests Tara, “that way they are having the space and time to grow and heal each night – sleep is vital!” Encouragin­g physical play and engagement in creative activities can also help minimise your child’s anxiety. According to Tara, “moving their body helps to release the worry chemicals in their brain. Painting, drawing and reading stories with you are all great ways to allow your child to get creative and allow them to share this creativity with someone. “Human children are like human adults

– just littler! So take stock of what is helpful for you in times of stress and anxiety and impart that knowledge onto your children.”


A way you can offer support during uneasy times is by sharing your own past experience­s as a way to reassure – and connect with – an anxious child. “Share stories with your children, in an age-appropriat­e way, of the times where you have felt worried or anxious,” suggests Tara.

“For children that struggle to open up at first, a great tip is to use play to communicat­e, or find a storybook that is about the situation your child is going through. Reading the book with them and talking about the characters in the book helps your child to learn how to express themselves without the pressure or worry they might upset you with what they will say.

“Worries are normal and natural. We all have experience­d them. So give your child the space to share in their own time.”

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