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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dealing with stress... when you're 5 years old

We went to a Family Fun Night at my daughter's school on Friday.  They had games, prizes, and food.  It was a lot of fun (as the name suggested).  Everything was going great... until the last game was played.

Curls (3 yr. old) got a prize that Princess (5 yr. old) wanted and Princess proceeded to pout about it.  I explained that they could share and take turns with it.  That went over fine, and then we left the classroom to head out to the van.

On the way out Princess sees her best friend (who's a boy... that she really likes), and she wanted to say hi to him.  At the same time she dropped one of her prizes, one of those tiny bouncy balls (of course).  It bounced away from her, and she immediately went into meltdown mode.
There were lots of kids and parents walking in the hallway, and there was my daughter... scrambling across the floor, the tears starting to come down, trying to get her bouncy ball back.

She recovered her ball but by then was so worked up that she couldn't say hi to her best friend.  He had walked by right after it happened, probably seeing the whole thing, and meanwhile my daughter was hiding behind me because she didn't want anyone to see her (she gets like that when she's crying or upset).

So then we get to the van and she's in complete distress because she didn't get to say hi to her best friend.  She cried and sniffled the whole way home.  And even after getting home she was still upset and couldn't be consoled.
So we ordered pizza... and we talked.  About how she could've handled the situation differently and not immediately reacted as if it was the end of the world.  And to just ask me for help if she needed it.  And that even though she didn't get to say hi to her best friend, she would see him again at school on Monday, just a couple days away.
*         *         *
Understanding that our kids are going to get stressed is important to remember as a parent. We have to use our "superpowers" to see into the future.  We need to anticipate how they're going to react in a situation and try to avoid unnecessary stress.

In this situation I could've brought a bag for the girls to put their prizes in or carried the toys myself.  Knowing that a toy in the hands of a child is more likely to be dropped and lost. Unfortunately though, you can't always avoid situations from happening... your child is still going to get stressed, and then they need to know how to handle it themselves.

I found some great articles from the following websites that talk about teaching your child how to deal with stress:
And this is important stuff to know, because if my daughter is getting this stressed over dropping a toy and not being able to say hi to a boy at 5 years old, what's going to happen when she gets to 15 and is dealing with hormones and boys?!  I shudder to think about it!  But hopefully I'll be better prepared by then.


Terre@savingyourgreen.blogspot.com said...

I understand your concern. When my daughter started the third grade is when she had a hard time dealing with stress and she started having panic attacks. I took her to a therapist and instead of choosing drugs I chose to help her learn tools to deal with stress. I like your self was thinking if she is stressing out over third grade what will happen when she has REAL stress! We had a good therapist and he gave her some good tools, and she kinda grew out of it so it all worked out in the end.
At the moment it is hard to see the big picture, when your child is so upset, but it will pass and we can both learn from it.

Sarah, Arik and Avas Mommy, said...

What a great topic to cover! Remember when we touched a bit on family stress in CM? Awareness of stress management is almost a "must" in parenting nowadays, with life's pace quickening on a daily basis. There are so many wonderful and interesting things for our kids to see and do and experience, but compiled together, it can sometimes be overwhelming! Kudos to you for recognizing that, and thinking about how you can help! Showing our kids kindness and compassion, and offering to help them to manage their ideas and their moods when they need it is a wonderful thing!!!! :-)

blueviolet said...

Some kids really do react strongly to things like that, and I think you're doing well by talking about it with her and helping her learn to develop some coping skills. Great job, mama!

Marvelous Mommy said...

Oh goodness! So true! I love the picture and her jacket is adorable!

sarah said...

Aww thanks for right this. This was a great post and good reminder too.

Kathy said...

It can be so overwhelming for them and I think we sometimes forget how little they still are. I love the way you spoke with her afterward and went through stratgies about how she could handel it diffrently, I also related to how you were thinknig how you could deal with it in the future. She is adorable, poor baby!

So happy to find you on Cafe Moms blogging group, glad to be a new follower! if you get a chance drop by for a visit

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