A Tool to Help Your Child Manage Their Stress

Young Parent Program ~

Most if not all parents are well aware of the stresses that parenting can bring. During those stressful times we often relate to other parents who are experiencing the same trials and tribulations on their parenting journey. I believe as our society progresses we are becoming more interested and willing to learn about our children's well being, and the stress in their lives. We all face stress at some point in our lives however there are different kinds of stress we experience (for example: positive vs. negative stress).

stress in children

The effects of negative stress on a child can show up in different ways, such as children struggling to sleep at night, sadness or tantrums. When children are very young it is often the job of the caregiver to help our children cope and relieve their stress by providing affection, speaking with a calm tone of voice and being a safe person for a child to exercise emotions in front of.

As children get older it is the job of the caregiver to provide their child with the tools to manage and cope with stress on their own. Seems like a heavy task if you think about it long and hard enough. However, I have a simple tool that comes from the parent program Kids Have Stress Too, created by the Psychology Foundation of Canada called The Stress Spotlight.

The Stress Spotlight is a recognizable symbol that can be used in helping our children understand how to reduce stress in the moment.

At the Red Light we STOP and identify the stress symptom:

  • Mad

  • Sad

  • Anxious

  • Worried, etc.

At the Yellow Light we CHANGE and use calming activities:

  • Deep Breathing

  • Yoga

  • Music

  • Conversations

  • Busy Bags, etc.

At the Green Light we GO and return to our day:

  • Continue Playing

  • Continue Learning

  • Continue Being You 😊

PRO TIP: One way this tool has been practiced in the homes of families who have taken the Kids Have Stress Too course at CFS Regina, is to display the poster somewhere in in your house where everyone can see and access (usually the kitchen fridge). When your child begins to have overwhelming emotions that are caused by stress, point out the Stress Spotlight and have them identify which colour they are at. Generally they'd be at the Red Light and the goal would be to bring them to the Green Light while making changes at the Yellow Light.

This is just a snap shot of one of the many tools the Kids Have Stress Too parenting program offers in their three session course. CFS Regina offers this program in house once a year. Participants of the program walk away from the course with knowledge on what stress is, how stress presents in children and a toolbox full of activities on how to bring our children from a Red Light to a Green Light.

If you have any questions about stress and your child, please feel free to reach out to us (CFS Regina) at 306-525-0521 for support.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected

- Jamie, Young Parent Program Coordinator

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CFS Regina

160 McIntosh Street

Regina, Saskatchewan, S4R 4Z4


Phone: 306-525-0521

Fax: 306-522-3775

Newcomer Career & Support Services 


Phone: 306-525-0521

Fax: 306-522-3775

CFS Regina 2018