Helping children manage their nerves before a big event
Our children are under more pressure than ever before so how can we help them with any jitters?
I remember my childhood as being totally carefree. School was a place I loved, and I want the same for my children. But they're faced with more pressures now than I was then. The big question for me is how can I help them control their nerves before a big event?
We could be talking about the dreaded SATS, compulsory tests for six and seven-year-olds in England that most parents and teachers feel are unnecessary. Or they might be a flower girl or page boy at a family wedding.
Nerves might also be caused by something kids are keen to do, like perform a solo in the school play. For some kids, just being onstage might be enough to bring about the jitters. Rosie has some great tips on supporting a child as they prepare for a big event. but what can we do if all our hard work means they are still feeling jittery?
Much as I'd love to say to my nervous child "it's OK, you don't have to do it" sometimes I can't. SATS are not optional. In other circumstances, they might be letting down their friends and teachers if they decide they don't want to do the solo they have been practising for.
So here's what I do to soothe frazzled nerves:
- Listen: It's all very well talking to them but if I don't actually listen I won't find out what really is the matter. Even if it's something seemingly trivial, like what happens if they need the loo during a test, worries like this one feel like a major problem to them.
- Sleep: Making sure they have a decent amount of sleep makes all the difference so I guard their bedtime like a ferocious pitbull. One of my children found it hard to switch off so I invested in some meditation CDs by Relax Kids. They worked a treat.
- Reassurance: I am amazed at what we expect our children to do sometimes. I couldn't get up on stage in front of 200 adults now let alone when I was seven, so telling them that whatever happens they're a star seems to help.
- Essences: Many people will be sceptical at this but I've used mineral essences to help their nerves. Like Rescue Remedy, they are available in a liquid form you drop on your tongue or as a spray. I can't tell you how they work, it may be a placebo effect, but they've helped my children. The down side is that they can be a bit pricey, but as a solution, a friend and I went halves on a bottle.
- A talisman: I have been known to slip a little wooden star into their pocket as they head out the door. It's a physical reminder throughout the day that, no matter what, we think they're stars.
Have you got any tips on how you help your children beat the jitters?
Photo copyright: Debbie Webber
Post a comment
You must be signed in to post to Ready for Ten.
Haven’t registered? It’s really quick and simple.