While we think of summer as relaxed and care-free, it is still a change in routine and can cause stress in both children and adults. The following is an excerpt from an article called “What Your Child Wants You to Know About Stress” from the Early Experiences Last a Lifetime website.
Did you know that I can feel stress? Young children can feel more stress than anybody! Usually people talk about stress when they are talking about older kids or grownups. It is hard for grownups to think that little children might feel stress too, but we do. We don’t understand the world as well as you do and have very little control over what happens to us. That can be very stressful!
Help me understand my routine each day. I like to know what is going to happen next. I like to hear it every day, even if we did the same thing yesterday. You might hear me ask the same questions over and over again. Try not to get frustrated with me. This is my way of trying to understand or asking you to give me more information.
Let me know if there is going to be a change in my routine. I feel worried inside when I don’t know what is going to happen or if I don’t know what I need to do. It really helps when you tell me about my day when I wake up in the morning and if you keep me updated as the day moves forward. It really helps me do what I need to do, when you can give me a five minute warning before a change happens.
Talk to me if I get upset about a change. Ask me why I am upset. Sometimes I just don’t like to stop what I am doing or sometimes I might be worried about what will happen next. I need your help putting my feelings into words. There may be something I don’t understand. It will be easier for me to calm down if you stay calm while you help me.
I hope that these suggestion help you and your child have a peaceful and enjoyable summer!