Traditionally, many school-aged children love school and look forward to start of a new school year. But for other children, it’s also a time of great stress. In fact, stress—those overwhelming feelings of doubt about ourselves or our ability to handle things—is as common in children as adults.
The greatest challenge to parents today is teaching children to manage stress effectively. Children may react to excess stress with behavior that seems immature, inappropriate, or even disturbing. One child exhibits anxiety and tears the night before going back to school. Another child speaks of new teacher and asks her parents questions while trying to imagine the teacher's personality. Another child enjoys shopping for school clothes and looks forward to seeing new friends.
Stress can be terrifying to children who lack the emotional maturity or experience to understand and deal with it. The challenge for parents, teachers, and other caretakers include how to recognize signs of stress in children of different ages, how to know when stress threatens to overwhelm a child, and what to do about it.
In Nurture Your Child’s Gift, I offer excellent suggestions to help parents cope with their children’s stress. A stressed-out condition can result from a specific cause or from life in general. Here are some examples:
- At 17, Jen was a high school senior expecting to graduate with honors in the Spring. Just before Christmas, however, Jen’s father lost his job and the family had to move into the basement of a cousin’s house. Jen soon developed a severe allergy, then asthma. The illness cost her so much time from school that she required home-schooling to make up the difference.
- Mark was only two when his parents divorced. Confused, Mark wandered the house, calling plaintively for his father, but weekends with Dad made him cry. Most weekends, Mark developed upset stomachs that were so bad he’d miss preschool on Mondays.
Toddlers need to feel safe and comfortable. Stress for preschool children can arise from a new face at home or at day care, the disappearance of a familiar face, visiting lots of new places at once, or abrupt changes in the family’s structure, relationships or daily routine.
During the grade-school years, children become concerned with pleasing people like teachers, parents, guardians and coaches. School life—even a change in assigned seating or having to take a test—brings higher levels of stress every year. And when it comes to peers, even the threat of diminished acceptance is terrifying. Sleep-overs, birthday parties, sporting events and music competitions can trigger stressful reactions.
Through middle school and beyond, the pressures kids feel from parents, teachers, peers, society at large, and from within increases. Children have to learn adapt to these pressures. Because they have grown in their intelligence, curiosity and knowledge of community, demands for their attention, time, energy and effort can often feel like a tug of war. As in the cases of Mark and Jen, it is not unusual for life-altering events to express themselves in illness. At the University of Missouri, for instance, researcher Mark Flinn found that a child’s risk of upper-respiratory infection increases by 200 percent for the seven days following a high-stress event. And parents like Miranda’s might confuse what they believe are normal behavior with an expression of anxiety. Children often display their tensions in small acts that have aggressive undertones.
How You Can Help
- There are many ways parents can help their children deal with stress and stressful situations.
- Don’t try to fix everything for the child, and avoid offering advice. Sometimes just listening so that your child feels truly heard may be enough to relieve the stress.
- As you listen, ask questions that encourage your child to think a situation through. “What’s the next step?” or “How would you handle that?” are good questions. Ask a lot of “what-if” questions, too.
- Help children listen to themselves. Nurture Your Child’s Gift suggests quiet-time techniques for children to listen to nature sounds like rain or waves upon the beach, to their own heartbeat, or to recordings of whales, dolphins or birds.
- Encourage children to spend time listening to their thoughts. When they feel free to speak their own thoughts aloud about a situation, things suddenly become clear.
- Nurture Your Child’s Gift details a diaphragmatic breathing exercise for kids and parents. Shallow breathing is associated with the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Deeper, effective breathing produces feelings of relaxation and calm.
- Use soothing and rhythmic music, even simple drumming, to help your child relieve muscle tension. It works!
- Don’t overlook exercise for releasing stress and tension. It works for your child just as it does for you. Have children walk the dog, get on the treadmill or stretch through easy yoga movements for children. Any movement they enjoy will help ease stress away.
- Parents can do much to alleviate stress in their children’s lives. Effectively dealing with your own stress is the first step. Showing your kids how to release their stress comes next.
Copyright © Caron B. Goode.
To achieve significant results, coaching clients needs a focused, step-by-step coaching action plan. You design your best personal coaching programs that guides the client logically through each step in the process.
Big breakthroughs don’t happen overnight, and they don’t happen by chance—as your clients have no doubt discovered by now. In fact, your ideal client has probably been struggling for a while. She's read blog posts on the topic, watched dozens of webinars, attended conferences, read books, listened to podcasts, and still, her problem is right there--in front of her all the time.
For example, a coaching action plan designed to help freelancers get started online might include:
- Developing service offerings
- Ideal client discovers
- Pricing packages
- Creating a website
- Keywords and SEO
- Developing a sales funnel
- Creating contracts
- Marketing methods
- Sales calls
Each step in the coaching action plan is necessary, and also are dependent on one another. You cannot market your website if it doesn't exist yet. You can't work out pricing if you don’t know what services you offer.
Your coaching action plan, as well, will benefit from a logical flow of steps. Keeping your desired outcome as well as your ideal client in mind, think about
- Where is she right now in business and life?
- Where is she going with the help of your coaching?
- Next draw the mind map to get her there, and this becomes the steps of your coaching program.
- How long your program will last?
.One-to-one coaching programs range from a few weeks to a year or more, depending on the depth of the information and the outcome clients will achieve.
Realistically, how long will it take for your customers to work through the steps of the coaching action plan?
Be sure to consider outside influences such as:
- Day jobs—if your customers are building a business while still working outside the home, it will reduce the amount of time they have available
- Family obligations—toddlers in the house, summer vacations, elderly parents and a host of other life events can limit the time a client can dedicate to your program.
If your program includes elements that take time, consider extending the length of your coaching to accommodate them.
In step five, we'll talk more about contact access and frequency, but for now, only start considering how long your overall program will be, and what the steps to completion include.
Exercise: Brainstorm Your Coaching Action Plan Steps
What do your clients need to learn so that they can achieve your desired outcome? Spend a few minutes creating a list, and then organize it in a logical order.
In what order should your clients cover the topics listed above?
Exercise: Plan Your Program Duration
How long will it take your clients to work through all the steps above?
"Design Your Coaching Tools"
Five Years From Now?
It is important to have a vision of your future when you design your parent coach business plan and marketing strategy as a parent coach. Here is a checklist to spark innovative thoughts for your business.
- How big do you want your business to grow?
- How much time can you devote to it now, and five years from now?
- What hours of the day do you want to work now, and once your business is going?
- Are you going to take phone calls all hours of the day and night?
- Are you going to take evening clients? In parent coaching, many clients will want evening or weekend appointments. Can you accommodate them?
- What hours do you want to relax with your family?
Take the time to write down a schedule of your ideal week, including time for relaxation and taking care of your health. Whether you are single or married, whether your children are in college or are toddlers, come up with a personalized design that allows you to meet your family obligations and your own needs to relax and grow as a person.
If your best moments come when you are in nature, plan your week so you have that time to spend in nature and to reconnect with yourself. Don’t let go of what most satisfies your own soul because of business obligations.
As a coach to families, people regard you as a role model. You have to model a healthy integration of work and family for your clients. If you don’t succeed, how can you expect help others succeed?
In the beginning being a parent coach you will focus primary energy into marketing and networking, which are usually unpaid tasks to build into your business plan.
Fill your heart and mind with optimism as you network and market your parent coaching practice. Your positive attitude and caring are what attract people to work with a parent coach. The image you reflect when you show up is much more important than any piece of sheepskin.
When small businesses fail, it is usually because of lack of planning and design. When you create your coaching business, be sure you have realistic expectations about how much time you can devote to it now and in the future. Develop a schedule for today and five years from now. If you work out of your house, build clear separations between your personal life and your business. Do this by only working certain hours, shutting the business down regularly for personal time, and by having a work place clearly separate from your living area.
Now if you are looking right ahead into the future, it’s now the time to take step toward that goal or desired future. If you are not a parent coaching already, look into our certifications for parent coaching but if you are already a parent coach and you are looking for someone to show you all the steps to make your coaching business successful, signup for our course Successful Business Set-up in systemized steps to skyrocket your startup today.
Successful Business Set-up in systemized steps
certifications for parent coaching