Anymore in our day and age it is normal to stress out about most everything. The definition of stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from very demanding circumstances. Adults aren’t the only ones that stress. Children can carry their own stress as well. Though as adults it is easy for us to wave our hand and think our children have it so easy what can they possibly be stressed about, stress in children is growing.
Causes Of Childhood Stress
Children of all ages can feel stressed. There are a lot of stressors that can affect a child of any age. This could be having a conflict with a friend. Changing schools, starting a new school year, or struggling in school with the new material that is being taught or being able to focus. Balancing responsibilities between school, home and extracurriculars can also cause stress. Unsafe or having hardships at home can cause stress as well. This can be from parents separating or divorcing, arguments at home, or even financial struggles. Some children also stress about disappointing their parents or making mistakes.
As kids start getting older into the pre-teen and teen years there become even different stressors. Some of these can be from puberty, and their body changes. Poor self-esteem or having negative thoughts about themselves can also lead to stress. Fear of the future, peer pressure and dating all start to be placed in the stressor column. As well as cyberbullying, or regular bullying either at school or from an extracurricular.
Symptoms To Watch For
As the stress starts to increase it can actually cause physical symptoms. Physical stress symptoms can be headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, increased heart rate, insomnia, nightmares, bed wetting, decreased appetite, or even pretending to be sick to get out of a task or event.
Not only can stress take a toll on our physical well being, it can also take a toll on our emotional and mental well being as well. Emotional symptoms could be high anxiety, mood swings, restlessness, clinginess, development of new fears, decreased concentration or social isolation. Stress can also cause increased crying, anger, stubbornness, or aggression. It also can lead to overreactions to minor events.
Stress is not a good feeling to have. It can make us feel physically ill as well as make us unable to perform to our best ability in our tasks. So what can we do to help lighten the load for our children? There are a few things we can do to help them cope with stress better.
Be A Good Example
The first thing we can do is set by example. If we can’t handle our own stress how will our children ever learn by example? Make sure you know how you can lower your stress and show your child. Children learn from observing. You don’t have to openly say, I am doing deep breathing to lower my stress, but if you find yourself in a stressful situation perform some of the things that help you deal with it.
Start The Day Off Right
A good way to start the day is with a calm morning. This will set the tone for the rest of the day. No child succeeds in being hurried. Make sure you all have ample time to complete all tasks that need to be done in the morning in a timely manner. If you know your child takes twenty minutes to eat breakfast, don’t wake them up when they are only going to get ten minutes to eat. A calming morning will allow the day to flow as smoothly.
Organization Calms Chaos
Another thing that can help with a calming morning is learning ways to help organize your child. This could mean packing up their backpack the night before. This allows them to know they have everything they need before the next morning that could be on a tight schedule where there isn’t extra time to check if they put their homework in their folder or not. Also organizing after school activities, or having a calendar with events on it can also help with organization. You being organized as well will help set an example of organization for your child.
Control The Schedule
Stop overscheduling. We all want to hustle and be busy. Sometimes though that hustle and busyness can lead to chaos. No one thrives in chaos, so chop it out. Talk with your child and see if there are one or two activities, or clubs they would be willing to give up so that they have time to just be at home and relax. Down time, allowing them to just freely play in their home can be a huge stress release.
Learn Stress Relief Behaviors
Learn some calming strategies you can share with your child. This can be from breathing deeply, to picturing a calm landscape or even counting backwards from a number. Whatever works best for your child, have them try a few out or ask them what makes them feel calm, they may have their own ideas. Exercise is also a good and healthy stress release.
Get enough sleep. Sleep is so important. Getting enough sleep will cut back on irritability, and allow your child to be able to handle things better. As well make sure they are eating healthy, and getting enough exercise. Allow your child to have time for self care. This could mean just alone time in their room to do what they wish. Or this could be pampering your daughter with a spa day, or getting your nails done. Cleanliness can also help your child feel more motivated and have higher self esteem.
Talk with your child about stress. Listen to how they are feeling. Don’t tell them they have no business being stressed. Everyone can be stressed in their own way. As parents it is our duty to help them learn how to manage stress in healthy ways so when they get to be adults it’s old news and they are already one step ahead of beating stress. Spending quality time with our kids can be huge in helping them feel safe and secure in their environment.
Anymore stress can come from all kinds of directions; friends, school, media, or even self inflicted. It is good to know the best ways that work to keep stress at bay.
Is Stressed Out Children The New Normal? Identify & Resolve #HealthStatus
Down time, allowing children to just freely play in their home can be a huge stress release.
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