Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stress Relief Techniques For A Preschool Child - Part Two

In the first part of this two-part article, we discussed, from
my viewpoint as career educator of more than 30 years, the fact
that preschools and families are increasing stress on preschool
children. To clarify, we worked through a brief definition of
preschool stress, and looked at the underlying reason for
preschool stress.

Finally, we considered the basic requirement of preschool
stress relief. We pick up at that point.

Basic Requirement of Preschool Stress Relief

Stress relief techniques for a preschool child must be
fashioned in accordance with the underlying reason for stress:
the child's need for control.

Establish Boundaries

Preschool stress relief depends on the establishment of
boundaries. We must establish physical boundaries to keep a
child safe physically. We must also establish emotional, mental,
and spiritual boundaries to give the child safety. As long as
boundaries do not exist, or can be knocked down, children will
experience stress in seeking them. Here are a few examples of
preschool stress relief in action.

1. At reading time, the physical boundary is the reading
circle, reading rug, or whatever part of the room you designate.
The child is to be there and nowhere else. Doesn't this create
preschool stress? No. It is strong preschool stress relief. When
children know clearly that only one location is acceptable,
control is established for them. They do not need to seek
control by responding inappropriately. They can relax.

Preschool stress relief requires us to teach children these
boundaries and help them understand that they will be happy and
safe within them. They never have to test the boundary. We help
relieve stress.

2. When an adult gives a command or makes a request, the mental
and emotional boundary is immediate and full compliance. Adults
set the boundary once, with no counting involved. The amount of
time children wait to obey is the amount of time they are
outside the boundary – an unhappy place to be.

If we want to provide preschool stress relief for children, we
will be sure they understand that remaining outside that
boundary is inappropriate. We do not ignore their disobedience.
We make obedience important. We reward it, and remove the need
for decision.

3. Stress relief techniques for a preschool child also
establish control for the child when it comes to expectations
that children will get along with one another. This expectation
is not unrealistic or burdensome. Preschool stress relief in
this area takes the form of instructing and showing that good
things result from efforts to get along. If we separate children
who are unwilling to cooperate with one another, we add to the
stress, making it difficult for them to know what to do. Our
voices tell them they must get along, but separation rewards
their failure to do so.

Give Responsibility

Preschool stress relief gives children responsibility for their
actions. It does not blame refusal to stay within boundaries on
circumstances outside the child. Life will always contain
circumstances beyond their control. Preschool stress relief
helps them learn early that appropriate responses to stress are
based on boundaries, and their responsibility to stay within the

Stressful Crayons

A good object lesson in preschool stress relief is to give
children a coloring page and crayons. Talk to them about how
unhappy the crayons will be if they go outside the lines. Tell
them the lines are there to make it easier for the crayons. If
they had to color a parrot (or whatever the picture) without
lines to guide them, it would be much harder. It would make the
crayons feel anxious. They could not be sure if they were doing
it right. The lines make the crayons happy and relaxed.

As the children color, explain that they are like crayons. They
need lines. They need boundaries. As long as they stay inside
life's lines, they will be much happier.


Preschool stress relief is not complicated. We should not make
it so. Teachers and parents who focus on natural, common sense
boundaries will achieve a high level of preschool stress relief
without struggle.

About The Author: ©2007, Anna Hart. Anna brings to her writing
her professional training and expertise as an educator and
published author. When she writes at about preschool stress
relief, she does so from experience and carefully conducted
research. Anna invites you to read about preschool temper
tantrums on her blog site.

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