Although Tourettes is a neurological condition, many parents agree that stressful situations make the tics much worse.
Here’s some top tips to bring down that background anxiety to relieve as much stress as possible.
1. Alone Time
Encourage your child to discover the benefits of alone time. Many children associate being sent to their room, or left on their own, with being punished. Help your child to find an activity they can enjoy on their own, which will help them relax. Try loading up an MP3 player with their favorite songs, and get a pair of kid-friendly, volume-limited headphones, so your little one can get lost in the music and shut the whole world out. Something my son really enjoys doing to relax is reading. He uses a Leapfrog TAG read-write system, because when he gets stuck on a word, the pen will read it out for him. This really helps manage his stress levels, because he is able to problem solve on his own, without coming to me for help (not that I would mind of course).
Honestly, blowing bubbles could be just about the cure for anything. And don’t think it’s just for babies. Given half a chance, children of all ages (and adults) enjoy blowing bubbles. Not only is it fun to watch the bubbles float up in the sky, but the physical action of taking a deep breath and then blowing it out slowly, helps relieve tension.
3. Evict The Worries
Encourage your child to evict the worries that live inside him, and send them somewhere else to live. You can use a piggy bank, or decorate a shoe box to look like a little house. Either you or your child needs to draw a stack of little creatures on post-its or cards. Then each creature needs to be labelled with the name of a worry your child is carrying around with them. The aim is to help your child acknowledge what their worries are, how they contribute to how they physically feel, and that you are there to help with those worries, if your child is prepared to share them. Do not dismiss the concerns. They may seem trivial or unrealistic to you, but they are significant for your child.
Work through this video to help your child take ownership of, and manage their own stress levels.
Good luck, and don’t forget that these techniques work for adults too – a calm, relaxed child needs a calm, relaxed parent.