Guess what? Your kids may be stressed out, too. The start of school – after a summer of being on vacation – can be a particularly stressful time.
How do you know if your kids are stressed?
A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that 20% of children have ongoing stress.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to determine if your child is stressed:
- Does your child have more meltdowns than usual?
- Do you notice more fatigue, irritability, headaches or stomachaches?
- Is your child sleeping poorly or having more nightmares?
- Does your child seem angry?
What can you do to help your child cope with stress? Here are 8 stress relievers you can teach your kids:
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of negative thinking. You may also be teaching your kids to think in the negative instead of the positive. Rather than saying, “I hope I don’t fail the test,” put a positive spin on it and say, “I have studied, and I will pass the test.”
Show by example
Kids are perceptive. They watch you and pay attention to what you’re doing. If you show them that you can manage stress in productive way, they will learn that stress is something they can deal with. Make sure they see you finding effective methods of handling stress in your life.
Most people wait until they’re stressed out to use stress-busting techniques. You can teach your kids to know the signs early or take a preventative approach to dealing with stress. For instance, you can use healthy eating, exercising, meditating or other techniques to help cope with stress.
While we rely on technology in many aspects of our lives, it can also add to our stress levels. Try a self-imposed technology cut-off time. Limit screen time for kids, including TV, movies, mobile phones, tablets and social media. You and your kids may be surprised by the things you can find to do when you’re unplugged.
At least once a day, make it a point to eat a meat together. It can be breakfast if everyone is up and about at the same time. Or plan on sitting down to eat dinner in the evening as a family. You can learn quite a bit about what’s going on in your kids’ lives if you sit down regularly for a meal and conversation.
Spend time with friends
As adults we spend time with our friends to unwind, complain about our boss or just goof off. Your kids should also build healthy friendships that allow them to be themselves and blow off steam. They can hang out at the park, have sleep overs or just play in the yard.
Take up a sport
Sports are a great way to relieve stress. Playing a team sport can also help your kids build relationships, exercise and have fun.
Enjoy creative activities
Art, music or other creative tasks can help alleviate stress. Even reading a book can be a stress buster.
Relationships can help kids build resilience. Spending time with parents or grandparents playing board games, cooking or tossing a frisbee can help kids handle stress. And it creates happy memories for everyone!