How to Help Your Children Cope with Stress
Too many people often overlook and ignore their child’s stress. Like adults, children often encounter stress with their school, social life, and home life. We all know children can easily become overwhelmed and often don’t know how to deal with situations around them. Now it is normal for all children to feel stressed at some point, but how they react and deal with the stress varies greatly. The point is not to create a stress free environment for the child as that is impossible, but to try and find the factors contributing to their stress and teach them how to deal with what they are enduring and ways to overcome it.
1. Is your child too busy?
One of the biggest factors for stress in children is over scheduling them and keeping them constantly busy. Today, kids are expected to be attentive in every class for eight hours, participate in extracurricular activities, come home, immediately finish their homework, and then go to bed with the expectation to “rinse and repeat” for five days in a row.
Like everybody, children need time to recuperate. They might not realize it themselves but it is vitally important for them to rest their body and mind. Keeping your child too busy does not allow sufficient time for the child to unwind and rejuvenate.
There are several ways to notice if your child might be being kept to busy. Look at the schedule for your child and make sure there is at least an hour or two a day that the child can have his own time that is not regimented. This can be time for the child to watch TV, read a book they enjoy, or simply play.
Another is to pay attention to how your family is eating their meals. Do you not have time to make a meal for the children? Or are you constantly eating on the run. This could be an indicator that your child is too busy.
2. Are you stressed?
Children are very perceptive and can pick up on the slightest things. When the parents are stressed the children are affected. Make sure that you are taking time to relax and try to promote a stress free environment. When your children see that you can unwind and relax at home it projects a sense of stability and reassurance
3. Play Time.
It is very important for the child to play. This is a great stress relief for the child and is only amplified if you partake and play with your child. When it is play time for the child don’t try and dictate what the child can do. If you are playing with your child try to make it pressure free. That means there is no end goal of the play time, i.e., a lesson they should learn or a competition. This is a time for the child to let go of his worries and become immersed in their own world.
Try to make suggestions to your child that includes some type of physical activity. Keeping the body active even for a child is crucial to their health and well-being. This can be as simple as throwing the ball around, going for a walk, riding your bikes, or even building a pillow fort.
4. Disorganized morning
The mornings can be one of the most hectic times of the day for any family. With everyone trying to prepare for their day in a limited amount of time it can cause a very stressful environment. Not the best way to start the day as it usually sets the pace for how the rest of the day will go.
Make sure your and the children are waking up with enough time to get everything organized. It’s very important to establish a regular routine for the mornings. Be prepared for breakfast and know what to expect; no spur of the minute pancakes. Have your children prepare their backpack and schoolwork the night before.
5. Child getting enough sleep?
Sleep is crucial for everyone but more so for children. Lack of sleep can affect their mood, performance in school, and definitely their stress levels. Lack of sleep could be another factor that indicates that you’re over scheduling your child.
It is usually best to remove distracting factors out of your child’s room when they are trying to sleep. Some biggest distractions are TV and game consoles. These have their time and place to help the child reduce their stress but can be a deterrent when they need to sleep.
All children are going to make mistakes and a lot of stress comes from the apprehension and fear of making a mistake. It’s important to remind your child they don’t have to know everything, but it is crucial to learn from their mistakes. Having them learn to overcome a bad decision is one of the best skills the child can learn to reduce stress.
Read more at AboutTheChildren.org
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