Stress and anxiety are the common demons that every child and adult has to cope with in their everyday life. However, for a child with special needs, the frequency of such stress and anxiety is much more, keeping them tense and uncomfortable. Thus, it becomes our job as parents to handle our child’s stress.
And to do that, we have come up with five tips to reduce stress for a special needs child. But before that, let us elaborate on why managing this stress is important and the various reasons why your child can become stressed or anxious. Let’s get started.
Why Is Managing Stress Important?
Many parents are under the assumption that stress can make their children work harder or maybe hang out with their friends. But, chronic stress is a completely different game.
Long-term stress in a special needs child can lead to severe mental and physical health problems. It can increase their blood pressure, lead to heart diseases and obesity, and weaken their immune system.
Too much stress can also lead to severe mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Thus, it becomes very important to manage stress from an early age to avoid further problems.
Here are some reasons why your special needs child can be stressed.
Reasons Why Your Special Needs Child Is Stressed
Your child can feel stressed due to various reasons. It can be due to a conflict with a friend, changes in their family, or some problem at school. Here are some common reasons why your special needs child is stressed –
- They are unable to cope with their surroundings.
- They are facing difficulties keeping up with their classes.
- They are afraid of making mistakes or having an exam ahead.
- They face a major change in their family like the addition of a sibling, moving, a death, or a divorce.
- They might be getting bullied at school.
- They have witnessed catastrophic events like violence, terrorism, or natural disasters in real life or on the screen.
Signs That Your Child Is Stressed
Next, you have to identify the signs that your child is stressed or anxious. Here are some of the subtle signs that your child with special needs is going through some difficulties –
Angry And Irritable
The most obvious sign that your child is stressed is that they are very angry and irritable. Most children do not have the right words to describe their feelings. And this frustration can eat them up from inside, resulting in a bad mood. A stressed special needs child will seem more argumentative or short-tempered than normal.
Sudden Behavior Change
If you notice any sudden behavior changes in your child, it might signify that they are stressed about something. For example, a shy kid is now acting out. An active child now refuses to leave the house. If you notice any of these signs, you should talk to your child.
If your child is stressed, they will have trouble with their sleep cycle. For example, they might have trouble falling asleep at night, sleep around more than usual, and still complain about being tired.
Next, your child’s stress levels might reflect on their eating pattern. They might eat too little or too much because of anxiety and stress.
Getting More Sick Than Normal
Extreme stress can also manifest in physical symptoms. If your child is very stressed, they will have frequent stomach aches or headaches.
If you identify any of these signs in your child, it is time for you to step in and help them. Here are five tips for reducing stress and anxiety in your child.
5 Tips To Reduce Stress For A Special Needs Child
- The first, most important task is to help your child identify their feelings. It helps if you or their teacher starts helping them in emotion identification from a young age. It can help them quickly understand what is stressing them out.
So ask your child to put words to their feelings. Ask them if they are worried, scared, or nervous. Once you have identified the feeling, you can help them cope with stress.
- Next, you have to acknowledge your child’s emotions. That is the best way to help them out and ensure that they take your helping hand to manage the stress. Otherwise, if you dismiss their feelings, they can become more frustrated and reserved, leading to more anxiety and, in extreme cases, panic attacks.
So acknowledge how they feel and encourage them with positive statements. Most children with special needs do not understand the result of a change or an action. So, they might become too anxious about the simple things. So we suggest using positive statements to help them understand the situation.
- Next, you can introduce simple stress management techniques at your home. It also helps if their teacher can include these techniques in their daily classes. It helps them learn them better and use them when necessary. You can teach them simple techniques such as easy visualizing, positive statements, and deep breathing regularly.
- As a parent, you can also introduce bedtime routines to help your child relax. It can be something like relaxing bedtime stories or soothing music. You can find mediation and soothing music audios and videos on the YouTube channel to help them relax.
- Lastly, it would help to spend reassuring quality time with your kids. It also helps if the teachers too can spend some time with them. A happy, relaxing, laughing environment helps them calm down faster. You can also sing stress-relieving fun songs like If You’re Happy and You Know It to help them have some fun.
It is incredibly difficult to see our children with special needs suffer from stress and anxiety, and so it becomes essential that we know what to do to ensure that we can calm them down in such situations. So keep the five tips mentioned above in mind, and you can help your child navigate their tension with ease. We hope this article gives you all the details you require.