We all want the very best for our children and will do everything to make sure that they are happy and healthy.
As adults, we see the children’s world as happy and carefree forgetting that they also have their own worries and anxieties which can result in distress in their young lives.
Kids worry about many things, such as school, peer pressure and family issues. They suffer in silence and it is up to us to be able to look for signs and symptoms of stress in our children and help them to cope with them
What Is ‘Childhood’ Stress?
Any environment that requires your child to adapt or change will cause childhood stress. Childhood stress is mostly related to an illness of death in the family or the parents separating. Small doses of stress can be good for a child as it teaches them ways to manage stress as an adult. However, excessive stress can affect a child’s thinking, acting, feeling and overall development. This can affect a child’s feelings of safety and stability.
Separation from parents also known as separation anxiety can cause great anxiety in preschoolers and younger children. As they grow older they feel the pressure of academic and social environments and that in itself can cause stressful situations. Also, many kids today are overwhelmed with the amount of extracurricular activities they take part in and feel that they don’t have enough time to relax after school. The best thing a parent can do is talk to their kids about their activities and ask them how they feel about them. If your child complains about them, try to discuss the positive and negative aspects of those activities and either drop them or find out ways you can help your child to manage their responsibilities and time, to alleviate their anxiety.
Other sources of stress for children is they may be worried about what is going on in their family, such as if they hear their parents discussing their work issues or arguing, worrying about sick relatives, the death of a family member, and even separation or divorce.
Parents should be aware of how they discuss personal and family issues in front of their children as kids are highly mouldable and will pick up on their parents’ anxieties and start worrying themselves.
Certain things that are simple for parents can cause a lot of stress for kids and parents should let their children know that they understand the stress and acknowledge how their kids are feeling.
What Signs Should Parents Look For?
Short-term behavioural changes can be a clear sign something is going on in your child’s life. Your child may exhibit behavioural symptoms if they’re stressed such as mood swings, changes in sleep patterns such as waking up in the middle of the night, bedwetting, having trouble concentrating or completing their homework or they become withdrawn and socially isolated.
Younger children may form new habits such as thumb sucking, hair twirling, or nose picking, while older children may also begin to lie, bully, or defy authority. A stressed-out kid may also overreact to minor issues that arise, experience nightmares, become overly clingy, become aggressive, and have drastic changes in their academic performance. Some typical physical symptoms include headaches, chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, stomach aches, and fatigue.
How Do You Reduce Your Child’s Stress
How can a parent help their child reduce their stress and anxiety in what seems like a constantly stressed-out world? make sure your child gets proper rest and grood nutrition at home. That will help to boost their coping skills.
Additionally, good parenting is a great help. As a parent make time for your kids every day, this will definitely lessen the amount of stress and anxiety that your child faces. Always make yourself available for whenever your child needs you. Don’t pressure your child to talk about what’s going on, as sometimes children feel better when they do fun activities with their parents and spend time with them.
Always make sure your child knows how important they are and that you’ll be there for them all the time no matter what. That will be a great help to them during a diffiult time.
You should let your child know that some stress is okay and it is normal to feel angry, frustrated, scared, lonely or anxious. Reassuring your child is very important and always remind your kids that you are confident they can handle the situation and manage their stress.
How Do You Help Your Child Cope
Sometimes it helps to talk about your own problems and tell your child it’s okay to be vulnerable and talk about feelings and what they’re dealing with. You are always your children’s role model and therefore lead by example. Always remind your child tht you’re willing to tackle tough subjects and are always available to talk whenever they’re ready. Discuss with your child about what is causing them stress and help them cope by finding a solution to deal with the stress together.
It is a good idea also to consult a therapist or other mental health professional if your child is showing concerning symptoms and is unwilling to talk.
It is also helpful to cut back on after-school or weekend activities, spend more time talking and doing activities with them, and encourage your children to even speak to other trusted adults such as their teachers, counselors, and even their close friends.
Parent should also encourage their children to play more and limit their kids’ screen time to only two hours a day. Another coping method for stress and anxiety would be a healthy exercise routine and also encouraging them to write down their feelings about different issues. It is also helpful for the children to take part in stress-reducing activitie such as yoga and breathing techniques or even spending more time with their pets.
Always make sure your child knows that you are there for them all the time.