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Children should be Taught Coping Skills

Update Date: Aug 13, 2012 11:42 AM EDT

With the growing pressure on children to be able to survive in the tough and competitive society, and with growing peer pressure and increasingly tougher situations that children have to deal with these days, it is the need of the hour that parents teach children to deal with stressful situations.

Just like teaching how to hold a pen or how to ride a bike children also need to be taught to deal with hard situations beforehand, experts from Melbourne University's Graduate School of Education say.

A 'how to' guide to teaching coping skills to young children has ben released by director of the University's Early Learning Centre Janice Deans, and educational psychologist Erica Frydenberg.

Developing Everyday Coping Skills in the Early Years draws on over twenty years of research in coping to offer practical hints and tips for parents of young children and early childhood teachers, Medical Xpress reported.

According to Associate Professor Frydenberg, teaching children to cope with situations like how to say good bye to apparent, or how to deal in case of feeling left out from a friends group etc is very important.

"Learning coping skills at a young age means children can be equipped for optimal growth and development," she said. "This is increasingly important in Western communities, where depression and other mental health issues are being experienced in epidemic proportions."

The following are the suggestions by the authors to help children learn coping skills:

  • Getting the children to discuss their feelings in a group while they feel trapped in a difficult situation.
  • Using dance for children to interpret their feelings and ideas, by matching body movements to coping images. For example, being scared of the dark can be matched with shivering, shaking and quivering, and coping can be matched with skipping, swinging, sliding and leaping.

S8nce children spend a considerable amout of their time in organized care, Associate Professor Frydenberg said that early childhood teachers have a significant role to play in teaching them coping skills.

 "Those children that need additional social and emotional support demand a significant amount of teacher time. Teachers need to be supported to provide for these children," she said.

 "Developing a positive orientation, where the child is able to focus on coping rather than on distress, can help children develop skills they can take with them throughout their lives," Associate Professor Frydenberg said.

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