Help your child find ways to relax before he responds to a negative situation. Try relaxation techniques at home to see which methods seem to work the best for him.
Come up with a signal you can use in social settings to remind him to stop and try to relax. Develop a similar system he can learn and call up on his own when you’re not around. Praise him whenever you see him use a relaxation technique.
What you can say
“Jacob, I get stressed out too sometimes. I use some techniques to help me relax before I respond to a difficult situation. Some of these strategies might work for you too.”
“You could try counting to ten or taking a deep breath. Thinking about something you love or a place you love to be can also help. Sometimes, when I’m really stressed out, I try to take a short walk or listen to some music. Let’s think of some different ways you can try to relax at school, home, or at camp when you feel anxious.”
“I want to help you work on this. How about we come up with a signal I can use when I see you getting all worked up? What if I pretend to do a big yawn? That will be my way of reminding you to slow down and take a deep breath. Sound good?”
Why this will help
Relaxation techniques don’t come naturally. You need to identify different techniques, modify them to fit your child and practice them together.
Ideally, over time your child will develop a system that helps him relax and think before he responds. Getting positive feedback from you will reinforce the value of using these relaxation strategies.