How To Help Your Child Deal With Stress
The Importance Of Family Time
Your entire family can work together to create a less stressful household. Esposito says research shows that even small moments of togetherness and face-to-face time with loved ones brings lots of benefits.
Some ideas include:
- A family bike ride, walk or hike
- A family dinner a few nights a week
- Watching a TV show or movie together
- Taking a family trip or going on an outing together
- Setting the same time every day when all devices or smartphones go on their chargers and stick to it
- Adding a family pet
Family bonding time or the shared responsibility of caring for a pet increases the positive vibes in a household and decreases overall feelings of stress and anxiety, Esposito says.
Is Your Sense Of Empathy Stressing You Out Get In Touch With The More Clear
When your kid is miserable, you feel her pain, and that can be a good thing: It may motivate you to help. But the trouble with this sort of empathy what psychologists call affective empathy is that its a double-edged sword.
Feeling the pain might inspire you to be compassionate, but it might also push you to the edge.
Thats probably why parents who rate themselves as highly empathic can become over-reactive when their kids are upset . They get too stressed out, and the results can lead to them to become snappish, harsh, or controlling .
S. Shaun Ho and his colleagues have used hormone tests and brain scans to better understand whats going on. In a study asking mothers to participate in a parenting simulation game, women with lots of affective empathy got a bigger hit of cortisol when they had to make decisions about distressed, unhappy kids.
They also experienced heightened activity in parts of the hypothalamus and amygdala, regions of the brain linked with anxiety and stress .
So affective empathy causes stress, and that can undermine parenting. But that doesnt mean wed be better off as sociopaths.
There is another type of empathy, called cognitive empathy, that involves taking another persons perspective and imagining what would make him feel better. Its more cerebral and reflective, and it doesnt rev up the stress response system:
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Types Of Meditation Exercises
There are many different kids meditation techniques, but essentially all of the different types of meditatio techniques fall into two basic categories: mindfulness and mind-focused meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of clearing your mind, increasing your focus, and transcending the boundaries of your mind. Traditional Buddhist meditation is an example of this technique, which is often used for self-improvement and increasing your inner awareness of and connection with yourself.
In contrast, mind-focused meditation is about using the mind for self-improvement and increasing your inner awareness of yourself. Creative visualization, guided imagery and breathing exercises are all examples of mind-focused meditation and this type of meditation is well suited for children because they allow the child to quiet the mind by actively focusing their attention, not through attempting to transcend to a higher state.
As parents, engaging children in meditation techniques can be a powerful tool to help them deal with stress, and encouraging them to begin even a brief daily session of kids meditation can begin to build within them not only resiliency to lifes emotional challenges, but also the basis for spiritual growth & awakening over time. As kids continue to meditate, their practice will enable them to make meditation a regular part of their everyday life.
How To Make Stress Relief Part Of Your Kids’ Lives
Stress is no longer just a problem for busy adults children now need stress relief more than ever. A national poll from the American Psychological Association showed stress to be a top children’s health concern with a rank that jumped up several slots from previous years. Because stressed children often become stressed adults, stress relief for kids is important for now and for the future of our children’s health. Here are some strategies to promote stress relief for kids, and simple ways to implement them that can bring stress relief for the entire family. Try the following, to promote stress relief for kids.
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How Play Helps: Calming Stress & Anxiety In Kids + 6 Activity Ideas
As adults, we’re all too familiar with stress – and the many, many ways it can affect our lives. But did you know that children experience stress, too?
Although we wish childhood was stress and carefree, the fact is that children can experience stress and anxiety from disruptions in routines, from changes in their home or family, from school or homework, from friends and social situations, and more.
Helping children understand those feelings, manage them, and work through them – as well as finding ways to help children relieve stress – is important to helping them succeed in school and life!
What Does Stress Look Like in Children?
Wondering if your child is experiencing stress or anxiety? Here are some signs that experts in early childhood suggest looking out for, keeping in mind that your childs age and other factors may impact their reactions to stress.
If youre seeing signs that concern you, try talking to your child, their teachers, and healthcare professionals. Let your children know that you understand their feelings and emotions and that youre there to help them and support them. In addition, talk to your childs healthcare provider about what steps you might be able to take to help your child manage their stress and anxiety.
How Play Helps Children Reduce & Manage Stress
6 Playful Activities to Reduce Stress
Looking for playful activities that can help your little ones reduce and manage stress?
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Activities To Help Kids Manage Stress
Vacation time is all about relaxing on the grass and dreaming up at the stars. And then bam! Back-to-school is like a slap in the face. Its time for packing your bags, calendars, lists, and getting out of the door on time. Even more so for your child. Stress for kids is all-consuming. A slight in the classroom, a tussle in the yard, an insult in the hallway. Dont even get me started on expectations those that we have of them and even more so, those they have for themselves. It all adds up to some seriously stressed-out kids. Here are some ideas I use to help my kids manage stress.
Dr Jean Clinton, a child psychiatrist at McMaster University, Canada is concerned, Many of us are worried that the number of young people today experiencing mental health problems is on the increase.
Life for children is stressful but it doesnt have to be. It shouldnt be. As parents its our responsibility to help our kids form good habits that will last them their entire lives. So what can we do to help our kids manage their stress and become more resilient.
Back to school is a great time to get into a fresh routine, and calming habits picked up now will help kids along in their middle and teen-years. Techniques that will channel their tremendous energies into constructive ways to deal with the social pressures, homework anxiety and everything else you know life WILL throw at them.
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When Bad Things Happen Re
Sometimes it doesnt matter how many good thoughts you think: Stressful things happen. But even then, there is a lot you can do to cope.
Studies show that people handle stress better when they reconsider the situation from a new angle .
For example, HIV patients have better quality of life when they focus on the good things they experience, like improvements in their personal relationships . And it appears that even a little positive thinking can make a measurable difference in how we feel.
In one study, researchers asked college students to spend 15 minutes writing about the most stressful event currently affecting their lives. Half the students were told only to explore their feelings the other half were asked to engage in full-blown, positive cognitive reappraisal, to analyze the challenges and opportunities presented by their stressor, and to view their coping strategies in a positive light.
Immediately afterwards, the researchers evaluated emotional and psychosomatic symptoms in each student. What did they learn?
Students whod practiced cognitive reappraisal felt better than did students whod merely rehashed their emotions . Just as interesting, the researchers discovered they could improve the moods of people in the emotional rehash group by giving them this simple bit of upbeat feedback:
But what if there isnt a silver lining to think about, not even the prospect of a lesson learned?
Connect With Your Kids
Children and teens need to have a solid connection with parents and other adults to fully benefit from their experience, wisdom, and support. Don’t forget to spend time with your children, listen to them, and connect while doing things together that you both enjoy. If the lines of communication are open, they’ll be more likely to talk to you and use you as a resource when they’re stressed.
Here’s How: Schedule in time to do things together as a family, particularly activities that allow for healthy communication. Some families like to ride bikes on a quiet path, play board games and card games, and set aside time to goof off around the house. Other families take frequent weekend camping vacations which get them into quiet environments free from distractions, practice team sports together and cheer one another on when they play, or have family meetings every few weeks to simply touch base.
Your family may use some of these strategies or try something unique, but it’s important to have a few ideas up your sleeve that promotes stress relief for kids.
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Create A Good Study Environment
Creating a soothing environment can reduce stress and help you learn.
Aromatherapy, for example, is a known stress reliever, and peppermint essential oil is said to wake up your brain. Playing classical music as you study can also soothe you and help you learn .
Consider what would make a good study environment for you. Each individual is different, so what works for someone else might be less than ideal for you.
How To Handle Stress In School
The calming and distracting techniques discussed above are also recommended for children in this age group. You will have the extra benefit at this age of them understanding more about the world around them. Breathing exercises are ideal for assisting in physically calming down when upset, but children in this age range can also be taught to use their imagination in a way that is similar to an adult utilizing meditation. They can be verbally walked through a calming process and encouraged to envision a happy place, somewhere familiar or made up that they feel comfortable being at, and then begin imagining other details to make them happy. They may want to picture being with a loved one or a family pet. This process helps to take their minds off of things and encourage positive thoughts and situations to help them feel happier and more secure. This is also a technique they can learn to use on their own without parental guidance, so it can benefit them away from home.
Using these methods will not only help your child to learn self-calming and coping strategies that will benefit them for years to come. You will also be teaching them it is okay to express themselves, okay to feel certain emotions, and that it’s alright to trust others to help them handle their struggles. Sometimes we all need a little bit of support from those who love and care for us.
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How To Reduce Student Stress And Excel In School
As educational requirements become more stringent in all levels of education, students everywhere experience considerable school stress. This stress can affect performance on tests, participation in classes, and the well being of students everywhere. Therefore, it’s vital for all students to have a collection of effective stress management techniques that work.
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Let Your Child Be In Control
Children and even adults feel in control if they sense there is someone who understands them.
Sometimes, your child may find this sense of comfort apart from you, with a grandparent, an aunt or uncle or another trusted adult. While it may be difficult, Esposito says parents should allow their child to foster that relationship so that they have a go-to person and a sense of belonging.
The best thing any child can have growing up and to be able to manage themselves and their stress is that they identify and belong to a family and a team, Esposito says.
That sense of belonging can also come from a group of friends. Older children and adolescents need time to hang out with people who let them be themselves, where they can flat-out laugh and let loose. Such times are helpful for a child to deal with the stress on their own, Esposito says.
Ask For Backup When You Need It
Feel overwhelmed at times? Dont be afraid to ask your family or your spouse for help. Trying to be supermom or superdad is a recipe for stress, and your kids will benefit from your reaching out.
Youll make better decisions, youll be a better listener, and youll enjoy interacting more with your children, says Dr. Pomeranets. Youll be less tempted to yell and more likely to model proper behavior for them.
Find yourself feeling excessively and continuously worried?Talk to your healthcare provider, she says.
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Remember To Relax And Recharge
Take time for yourself every day.
Even if its just an hour in the evening after the kids go to bed, its really important to have time to reset as a parent, says pediatric nurse practitioner Crista Zufan, CNP. I find reading in the evening a great way to decompress and relieve stress.
You probably know what works for you. Whether its yoga, meditation, reading a book, playing cards, watching TV or playing sports, try to incorporate it into your day, says Dr. Wertman.
At days end, get a good nights sleep, advises pediatrician Svetlana Pomeranets, MD. Equally important is keeping kids on a routine schedule, especially for bedtime.
Take A Break From It All
When did you last truly connect with your partner? Plan to get away from your everyday routine.
Make time to do things on your own, as a couple, says Ms. Zufan. A date night once a month can help to keep your marriage strong and alleviate stress.
Plan a getaway or vacation for your family, too. I schedule time off when my kids have school breaks, so we can enjoy our time together, says Dr. Pomeranets.
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Use Understanding And Supportive Language
Use the following phrases as a way to support your child, let them know that youre going to support them and help them in any way that you can.
Im here for you
Talk to me and tell me whats going on
How can I help?
Together, we can work on this. Were a great team
I love you
Do you want a hug?
Here are some more ideas of what to say to calm an anxious child.
From Go Zen – 49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child
From Lemon Lime Adventures – What to Say to Calm an Anxious Child
What Causes Stress
Plenty of things can cause stress in a kid’s life, and there are such things as good stress and bad stress. Good or normal stress might show up when you’re called on in class or when you have to give a report. Have you ever gotten butterflies in your stomach or sweaty hands? Those can be signs of good stress the kind of stress that can help you to get things done. For example, you may do a better job on your book report if the anxiety inspires you to prepare well before you have to read it to the class.
But bad stress can happen if the stressful feelings keep going over time. You may not feel well if your parents are fighting, if a family member is sick, if you’re having problems at school, or if you’re going through anything else that makes you upset every day. That kind of stress isn’t going to help you, and it can actually make you sick.
Once you recognize that you’re feeling stressed, there are several things you can do. You can try talking about what’s bothering you with an adult you trust, like a parent or teacher. Bring up what’s been on your mind and how it makes you feel. An adult may have ideas about how to solve whatever is worrying you or making you uncomfortable.
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