How To Cope With And Manage Stress In Children
Shruti is a mother to a beautiful daughter. She has been under stress for the last few days because her daughter Kritika is struggling. Kritika is used to playing outside and spending a lot of time with her friends. She hasn’t been able to do that due to the COVID-19 restrictions and all of it is now stressing her out.
Shruti doesn’t know how to deal with this situation. All she knows is that all children face conflicts and problems that can overwhelm them. What she needs here is the right approach to deal with the problem.
According to Lynn Lyons, who is a famous psychotherapist specializing in treating anxious children and families, just like adults children can also feel stress. The key here is not to manage the source of stress for the child but to instead teach the child how to resolve the problem.
Managing Stress in Children
Helping children learn how to manage and cope with stress can have a lot of positive benefits in the long run. This skill must include:
- Strategies for problem-solving
- Learning how to plan
- Knowing when to engage in certain activities and commitments
- Practicing how to make things smooth and comfortable
According to reports, children who fail to manage stress from a young age, rely on food, drugs, and alcohol to self-medicate their problems. Engaging in these activities might make them feel better at the immediate moment but this doesn’t solve the problem and the effect will wear off.
Because of these reasons, irrespective of how tempted you are to solve the problem of your child, do not do that. Instead, follow the example of Shruti as she tries to help her daughter Kritika deal with stress.
Tips to Help Your Kids Manage Stress Successfully
The tips that you can follow to help your kids manage stress successfully are:
- Do Not Overschedule
One of the biggest stressors for children is to juggle ten million activities at the same time. Parents think that they’re doing what is best for their kids by putting them in almost every class that they can find. This is okay for kids who can manage that kind of schedule. But if your child is struggling to juggle all of that, then do not keep that up.
Instead, allow children time to pay attention and enjoy every activity. Let them perform well at school without being worried about dance lessons, music lessons, or after-class tuitions. Give children some downtime to play and rejuvenate.
- Make Time to Play
Experts around the world suggest parents look at the schedule of their child and see if they have time to play that isn’t pressured. This type of playing has no competition or end goal in mind. Instead, young children engage in this activity on their own and naturally.
Parents must make sure that their children do not forget to simply play. It is critical for the well-being of children that they combine play with physical activity. This means that your child should be:
- Riding bikes
- Throwing around the ball
- Even a bit of tumble play and wrestling
- Prioritize Sleeping
We are all living in a time period where everything is changing constantly. Shruti has been hearing from her friends complain about how they are unable to get any sleep and are constantly working. They are even proud of working around the clock!
This is not good for anybody’s health, especially children. Sleep plays a vital role in minimizing stress and boosting the mood of children. If your child is not getting enough sleep, then that is a huge red flag.
- Teach Your Child to Listen to Their Bodies
This is a difficult task to accomplish but if you stick to it then you can teach your child how to understand their own bodies and listen to them. According to pediatric experts, teaching children about their bodies and how they can wear out is important.
Try to help your child identify when his or her body is saying ‘enough.’ Encourage your children to talk about their bodies or when they might be feeling stomach aches or headaches. You can also keep a tab of these signs and identify what your child has the most problem with.
- Manage Your Own Stress
Parenting is tough. And we understand that you might feel stress just like Shruti. But sadly, stress is contagious. This means that if you are stressed out, then your children will pick up on that and feel stressed too.
Shruti wants to make the best of this situation and deal with her own stress while showing her daughter how to relax. This way Shruti can slow down while making sure that Kritika learns to slow down too.
- Start with Calmer Mornings
A disorganized home can be a stressful trigger for children. So, try to make the mornings go as smoothly as possible. This would set a good tone for the rest of the day.
- Show Kids How to Deal with Mistakes
It’s been shown in research that a lot of kids live under the constant fear of making mistakes. This is horrific because kids are always making mistakes and they are not supposed to know how to do everything.
Here your decision of being a smart adult can come in handy. You should teach your kids how to make good decisions. But at the same time, you should also teach them how to accept their mistakes and do better just like Shruti does with Kritika.
Shruti is always teaching Kritika that making mistakes is part of the process. This is why making a bad decision or mistake is not the problem. But not knowing to figure out the problem and making amends or moving on is the real trouble. Make sure that you are letting your children see the bigger picture.
Acknowledge and Love to Deal with Stress Successfully
At the end of the day, it is important for children to feel heard and seen. Make sure that you as their parents are doing this for them. Tell them that you notice when they are not feeling good. Acknowledge their trouble and reassure them.
Develop a bond that is based on trust. Be supportive and always listen to your child. Always offer help to your child but let them figure out their own path. Be there when he or she might need you.
Show love, warmth, and care. Hug your child. Set expectations. And know that cooperation is the key.