While many of us might tend to think of ‘stress’ as something associated with adulthood, it can (and does) affect children just as much as adults. Obvious sources might include school or peer pressure but kids can also get stressed over family strife, what they hear in the news or even their parents’ stress.
It’s important to recognise if your child is stressed and be in a position to help them cope with it. Here are some ways:
1. Look at your child’s routine and schedule. Balance is key ― perhaps they don’t have enough routine that allows them to become unsettled or anxious ― endless boredom can become overwhelming in itself, On the other hand, too hectic a schedule can be just as bad, have they too many activities on top of their existing school, social and family time?
2. Monitor their sleeping patterns. Teens should be getting 10-12 hours of sleep a night, with 9-12 hours recommended for 6-12-year-olds. Mobile phones, screens and other devices can hinder this, so encourage them to switch off all devices an hour before bed. Try to discourage them from having snacks before bed time. Oh, and this advice goes for adults too. 🙂
3. Encourage your kids to eat healthily. Eating the wrong foods, not eating enough, and overeating can negatively impact stress levels for both kids and adults. Encourage your children to try new foods. Feeding their imagination by exposing them to exciting flavours, colours, and textures can help them get accustomed to eating healthy at an early age.
4. Normalise stress and mental health issues. It’s very important that your child knows that there’s nothing wrong or weak about feeling stressed or anxious. Let them know that they’re far from the only ones. Talk about examples of stress, maybe even give them examples of how it’s happened to you. See if they can identify examples of how their friends might be or even characters on TV. All this will help normalise it and remove the stigma.
5. Emphasise that life isn’t always about winning. Make sure your children know that your love is unconditional, regardless of how well they do in exams, sports matches or other competitive fields. Let them know that while you want them to do their best, their performance does not reflect their value as a person.
These are just some ways that can help you alleviate stress in your children’s lives, I’ve more tips here at (10 Tips for Parents on How to Help Kids Cope with Stress) so do check them out. 🙂