It's no secret that raising happy, well-adjusted children can be a challenge. In today's fast-paced, ever-changing world, kids are under more pressure than ever before. As a parent or teacher, you play a vital role in helping children cope with stress, anxiety and difficult emotions. By providing support, encouragement and positive role models, you can help your students or child develop the skills they need to thrive in spite of challenges. Here are some tips and resources to get you started.

Acknowledge that stress, anxiety and difficult emotions are normal

It is normal and understandable to experience stress, anxiety and difficult emotions in our lives. We are human, after all, and we carry a wide range of complex emotions with us every day. Learning how to acknowledge and accept our feelings can be an empowering process, helping us to become more aware of our own thoughts and reactions, as well as providing insight into the impact that mental health has on our lives. Recognizing that it's okay to feel overwhelmed from time to time can be an incredibly freeing experience; one that allows us the distance needed to decide when we're ready take positive action towards better self-care and improved emotional wellbeing. It's important that we don't ignore these challenging times but let ourselves experience them fully—and gain strength by understanding we aren't alone in this journey.

Talk about how everyone experiences these feelings differently

Our emotional experiences differ from person to person in many ways. Although it is true that everyone has experienced sadness, joy, or anger on some level, no two experiences of those emotions will be exactly alike. Each person's different life experiences and history shape how they process these emotions. We might all understand what the emotion is but express it differently based on our unique perspective and outlook on life. Everyone’s feelings have the ability to drive them in different directions or ignite different passions and motivations within us depending on our own individual journey. Knowing this can help us empathize with one another and accept that we all feel things differently while still finding common ground.

Share some tips for coping with stress, anxiety and difficult emotions

Managing stress, anxiety and difficult emotions can feel overwhelming at times, but there are helpful strategies for coping. Firstly, getting proper rest, exercise and nutrition are important to keep our bodies and minds healthy. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, teens need 9-10 hours, and school-age children need 10-12 hours. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that only 1 in 3 Americans get the recommended amount of physical activity each week. Practicing mindfulness and deep breathing exercises can also be invaluable tools for reducing stress in the moment - actually take a few moments each day just to breathe! Additionally, sharing your feelings with supportive people can help us gain perspective and find better solutions to the problem that’s causing stress. Lastly, having an attitude of self-compassion instead of self-judgment is a simple yet powerful step towards taking back control and finding peace again.

Encourage children to express their feelings in a healthy way

One of the best gifts we can give our children is showing them how to express their feelings in a healthy way. Making sure children know they are heard and their emotions are valid is the foundation for any positive relationship. This means taking the time to listen, demonstrating patience and kindness, and expressing genuine care and interest in what they have to say. Modeling a healthy way of handling strong emotions also shows children that it is okay to be vulnerable and human. Teach your child simple coping skills like deep breathing, counting to ten, or envisioning a calming place as a way to manage stress or anxiety in positive ways. Overall, learning to navigate complex feelings prepares children for stronger emotional intelligence abilities well into adulthood.

Help them understand that it's okay to feel sad, angry or scared sometimes

It's perfectly normal to have feelings of sadness, anger, or fear during difficult times; talking about it with your children can be beneficial. Reassure them that no matter what they are feeling, it is acceptable and normal. It’s important to create a safe space for them to talk openly and honestly about their emotions - this could help to alleviate guilt that they may be feeling and encourage them to come to you when they need support. Ultimately, reminding your kids that negative emotions are part of the human experience can foster resilience which will help them cope better in life. Let them know you are there for them and that you'll always listen.

Let them know that you're there for them and will support them through tough times

Supporting someone through tough times can be incredibly rewarding, not only for you but for the person in need of support. Showing that you care, listening to what they have to say and giving them advice when asked are some of the best things you can do. Be patient, understanding and attentive to their needs. Keep a positive attitude, be willing to help however you can, let them know that it's okay for them to lean on you but also encourage and motivate them to continue working hard no matter how difficult life may become. You don't always have all the answers, but your offer of friendship and companionship is just as valuable. Remember, everyone has struggles in life – so don't forget that at their times of need, you're there for them with a hug or a friendly chat.


It's okay to feel stressed, anxious or have difficult emotions. We all experience these feelings differently. Some tips for coping with stress, anxiety and difficult emotions include: acknowledging your feelings, talking to someone you trust about how you're feeling, exercise, relaxation techniques and healthy eating. As a parent or guardian, you can support your child by listening to them, being there for them and helping them understand that it's normal to feel sad, angry or scared sometimes. Join YFN Academy today to learn more about health and fitness for kids!


National Sleep Foundation. "How Much Sleep Do I Need?" National Sleep Foundation, 10 Aug. 2020,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Physical Activity | HealthyPeople.Gov." U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Accessed 19 Sept. 2020.