Stress Management for Children
Life has actually come to the point where we have to learn how to manage stress in children. Our kids are our world, and it becomes imperative that as parents we make sure they have, not necessarily the gold-standard best, but simple everyday love and attention.
• Care, affection, attention... It all boils down to spending time with your kids.
• The more your children feel secure and safe being with you, the less stress they experience.
• Stress management for children can be achieved through a handful of routines; discussed below.
1. Sleep - Ideal Sleep Hours Are an Absolute Must
We can't stress enough the importance of this point. Sleep is the 'beginning and end' of stress management.
• Sleep boosts positive moods. By ensuring good hormonal balance, sleep provides much needed attention and performance value (studies, games).
• Often, a child's inability to sleep could be because of overscheduling; discussed next.
• The environment around your children should be ideal for sleep. Counterintuitive as this next notion might seem, your kids favourite music played at an apt volume could just help them grab some shut-eye.
• However, do not keep TVs in your child's bedroom. Television sets are better off in the living room anyway.
2. Overscheduling - Making Time Can Prove Difficult, But Is Essential Regardless
This pertains to you as the parent as well as your child's daily routine.
• From long hours at school, to being forced to partake in extra-curriculars and other activities in their so-called 'free time' can all lead to stress in children, sooner rather than later.
• Downtime is crucial for children. They should have at least a few hours to themselves, to pursue anything they wish other than their usual 'routine'.
• Prepare a schedule, not just what your kids do everyday throughout the week but what you do as well.
• The aim of the previous point is to ensure that both you and your children have time to spend with each other.
• Family bonding is essential for stress management in kids.
3. Mistakes - Teach & Prepare Your Children for This
Kids make mistakes, and plenty of them. Be ready to guide them during this invaluable phase.
• Do not embarrass or insult your children when they commit errors; be it in their homework or in general.
• Verbally or physically punishing your children is not the way to go.
• Stress managing with children includes moments when you teach them that it is perfectly alright to make mistakes.
• Fear of upsetting their parents often force kids to hide or suffer past a mistake, both of which lead to immense accumulations of stress in their young minds and hearts.
• To help your kids recover from a negative situation, you need to create an open home atmosphere.
Signs That Your Child Might Be Stressed
Here are a few experiential signs, and indicators, to let you know that your children might be going through stress.
• They feel lonely, which is often noticeable when they spend too much time on the phone with friends and familiars and very little time with you, the parents.
• On a similar note, your kids might intentionally be spending too much time alone by themselves, and/or not interacting with their siblings.
• They are easily agitated or frustrated, especially when you enter their room or 'private space'.
• They might even resort to harsh language or tone. This is a sign of their growing dislike of your 'interference'.
• In short, your kids do not trust you.
You need to ensure that you are not only a parent but also a friend, someone they can talk to. Stress in children does not happen overnight, it accumulates, it gathers, it builds up over time. Pay attention to the finer details in the lives of your kids, and take as long as you must to gradually become someone they can rely on.