stressed teenage boy covering face with hands

Children can experience feelings of overwhelm. It can happen when;

  • life feels too tough,
  • when children feel that there is so much to do in too little time,
  • or it could be when they find something challenging or find themselves in a difficult situation.

A child may feel overwhelmed because they just don’t have the skills to cope and that can make them feel frustrated, stressed, angry, sad etc.

If a child doesn’t have the skills needed for calming overwhelm they will not be able to manage or cope with these emotions. It can make parents or carers frustrated too as they want to say, “Just take it a step at a time. It’s not that bad. We can do it together”. They want to help the child. The first thing they should do is to help the child to calm down. Then they can talk and help them to understand what they are feeling, why they are feeling that and how to solve the problem they are having.

Tips For Calming Overwhelm

Parents can stop children from feeling overwhelmed by using the following techniques:

    1. Do some relaxation exercises.
    2. Try meditation or breathing exercises – search YouTube for videos and tutorials.
    3. Have a hug.
    4. Change the scene and do something more energetic such as trampolining or kicking a football around. Physical exercise can release stress.
    5. Use distraction to calm the child down as it stops them thinking about what has upset them in the first place.
    6. Try writing down their feelings and the reasons they feel overwhelmed. Writing it down can be therapeutic and help the child see the problem more objectively. It can also be an effective way to create action lists for overwhelming tasks or activities. Break down the tasks so they can work through step-by-step and only worry about the immediate next step, rather than the entire task at once.

The-Parents-Toolkit by the Kids Coach, Naomi Richards

There are many ways to help calm a child down. You know your child best so think about what works for them. Help them find calmness when dealing with the overwhelming challenge they face and it will make life much less stressful. It’s a valuable life skill that will stay with them into adulthood.

For some great ideas on how to tell children with overwhelm and stress take at look at my book The Parent’s Toolkit. 

[Orginally posted December 2020. Updated January 2024]