Activity: What Brings Stress On
Complete the Stress: What Brings it On? worksheet.
There doesnt need to be a lot of discussion about this worksheet as long as you process it at the end of the session as described in the conclusion. Do point out, however, that one way of both avoiding stress and getting better at dealing with it is to become more aware of what brings it on for you personally. This worksheet helps people think about and identify their own personal stress triggers.
Let Kids Know They Can Talk To You
Encourage your child to talk to you about any problems they may be having, and to talk about their feelings openly and honestly. One of the most important and effective ways human beings can deal with stress is by talking to someone about their problem. Even if your child is unable to specifically express what they are upset about, just having you ask and encouraging them to talk can make a difference.
Creating Routines For Your Childs Day
Kids love to have routines, and they are very particular about what they want to do with their time. As parents, we often see a desire among kids to be organized and on schedule. But given that our kids are growing up, its important to keep in mind that they arent always going to be as organized and on schedule.
In order to help your child achieve more of the things that matter most, create a routine for each day of your child’s week. With this type of system, you can set goals for a specific time each day and make sure that your child is meeting them. You might say something like This morning youll do two things: read a page from your book together and clean the house or We will play some games today and then watch some videos tomorrow after breakfast. This helps your child stay on track with whatever lifestyle or routines he needs in order to feel good about himself each day.
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What Is Screen Time
Screen time is any amount of time you spend on your phone or tablet. It can range from talking to your friends, playing loudly on a speaker, and even watching TV. If you have children in the house, we recommend looking at how much screen time they’re getting each day. And it’s not just kids who are spending too much time on their screens.
Adults also often spend too much time on screens, according to research from the Pew Research Center. One study found that adults who spent 6 hours or more per week spending screen time had an 82 percent increased risk of developing depression. So don’t think you can put off these conversations with your kids.
To make sure kids don’t get overstimulated by too much screen time, try setting limits and letting them know when they’ve met those limits. And if they exceed those limits, let them know why and set up consequences to make sure they learn from their mistakes.
Coping Specifically With Covid
The Centers for Disease Control has some specific COVID-19 suggestions as well. For example, it is important to talk with your child about the pandemic. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can understand.
Reassure them that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so they can learn from you how to cope with stress.
Limit your familys exposure to news coverage, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities. Be a role model for them. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members. Spend time with your child in meaningful activities, such as reading together, exercising, and playing board games.
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Reducing Teenage Stress Through Talking Listening And Positive Relationships
In general, you can help your child with stress by:
- actively listening when your child wants to talk
- letting your child know they can talk with you about anything, even difficult topics
- spending time with your child, especially when you know theyre feeling stressed
- doing things that make your child feel good, like cooking their favourite meal, letting them choose what movie to watch, and so on.
Your love and support and a strong relationship with you can have a direct and positive influence on your childs mental health, including your childs stress levels. It can even reduce the chances of your child experiencing mental health problems.
Stress Due To Environment Or Media
It is very common for children to get anxious about the things they see on TV, such as news of disasters, terrorist attacks, and rising tensions in the world. Very young kids might even react to extreme violence, gore, and horror in films, which can inflict an irrational fear of strange people, darkness, or scary monsters. Having online lives could lead to cyberbullying by peers or strangers, which can also cause severe emotional distress.
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Re/marriage Of A Parent
It’s never easy on kids when someone new enters the picture, but a remarriage of a parent can be extremely stressful on children. They might be wondering what this new person’s role will be. Will they replace one of their parents? It’s important to involve your child and make them feel comfortable from the start of your new relationship.
Connecting Mind And Body: Getting In Tune With Stress
Encourage your child to listen to their body and mind when they feel stress or worry. You can ask them how stress affects their:
For younger children, continue to be a stress detective and help them make connections between their body and stress. If you notice your child is complaining of a stomach ache, or is more irritable than usual, for example, and you suspect that stress is the cause, you can help them think about how they are feeling might relate to stress.
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Helpful Thinking To Reduce Teenage Stress
How you think about things affects how stressed you get by them. Like adults, teenagers can develop unhelpful thinking that makes it harder to deal with stress. Unhelpful thinking can get out of control, particularly if it becomes the normal way you think about things.
Some common unhelpful thinking patterns are:
- mind-reading, or expecting other people to have a bad opinion of you for example, They think Im stupid, She thinks Im no good at anything
- thinking things will always go wrong for example, Things never work out for me, Everyone is always against me, Ill never be able to
- labelling yourself for example, Im no good, Im stupid, Im hopeless
- absolute thinking for example, I have to do it this way I have no choice, This will never work
- fortune-telling or expecting the worst for example, Im sure to mess this up, Its not going to work out anyway, Im going to feel awful when it doesnt happen
- all-or-nothing thinking for example, He does everything right, and I always get it wrong, It has to be perfect, If only I had done it that way, it would be OK.
Encouraging helpful thinking Speaking to you or someone else can help your child to see that there are other ways of thinking about a situation. Try these suggestions for discussing stress and worries with your child:
Causes Of Teenage Stress
Many things can cause stress in teenagers. These include:
- school, especially homework, exams and pressure to do well
- relationships with friends, boyfriends and girlfriends
- life changes like leaving school, getting into university or getting a job
- too many things to do, and feeling unprepared or overwhelmed by tasks
- family conflict
- big decisions, like deciding whether to talk about something sensitive or important
- lack of sleep.
Its important to be aware of the things that cause stress for your child. If you can reduce these things and respond early to signs of stress, you might be able to prevent stress tipping over into anxiety and depression.
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How To Help Alleviate Childhood Stress
Put A Name To It: Help Children Notice And Name Their Stressful Feelings
Learning to notice and identify your feelings takes practice. Children might not understand that the in-the-moment feelings they are having are related to a stressor.
Teach them words to describe their feelings so they can tell you what they feel. Giving a name to feelings can be a great relief for children. You can teach younger children basic feeling words such as happy, mad, sad and scared. Older children can benefit from learning more complex feeling words such as frustrated, disappointed, and nervous. Breaking down feelings helps to better manage them.
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What Causes Stress In Children
In my previous post, Is Your Angry Child Purposely Defiant or Emotionally Stressed?, you learned that emotional stress is a major cause of childrens meltdowns. We all know what stress is. But what if your child doesnt look stressed?
When your child explodes into a rage over what seems like nothing, what can possibly be going on?
Does the following sound familiar?
You were doing something fun or maybe getting ready to do something your child is excited about. And out of nowhere he goes into a fit over what seems like nothing. What in the world is stressful about whats happening here? Your child is suddenly angry and out of control but you didnt see any sign that he was stressed.
It can be difficult to detect whats really going on because triggers can be invisible and unique to each child. Most triggers have to do with how an individual processes information in their nervous system and everyone does this a bit differently. Lets go into a few of the more common challenges that kids deal with.
Why Are Children Stressed Today
Think about all the stressors that can cause anxiety in a typical adults day: Noise traffic juggling work responsibilities, multiple activities, and family plans. We are a busy, 24-7 society.
Children who tend to be sensitive to noise and commotion are more susceptible to daily stress triggers, making the need for quiet downtime even more crucial.
For kids, school and after-school activities, the pressure to succeed , family changes or conflicts, and a host of other factors that can lead to anxiety and you have the perfect recipe for child stress.
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When Stress Doesn’t Ease Up
Stress doesn’t always happen in response to things that are immediate and over with quickly. Ongoing or long-term events, like coping with a divorce or moving to a new neighborhood or school, can cause stress, too.
Long-term stressful situations can produce a lasting, low-level stress that can leave a person feeling tired or overwhelmed. Finding ways to cope with the difficult situation can prevent this from happening, and ease stress that’s been lasting. Sometimes, people need help to deal with difficult situations that lead to intense or lasting stress.
Turning It Down: Explaining The Physical Effects Of Stress And How To Calm Them
First, reassure your child that its common to feel stress. Stress is a natural part of everyones life, and a normal fight- flight-freeze response that gets triggered inside the body when we feel stress. In this response, the body releases hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and readies your muscles to respond.
One way your child can help turn down this natural stress response is by taking slow deep breaths to feel calmer. Other breathing exercises can also help.
Follow along with Stresslr, a friendly robot, with your child for a fun way to learn about stress:
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Are You Too Busy
If you’re feeling tired and stressed because you have too much going on, like lots of after-school activities, you might feel better if you drop something, even if it’s just for a semester or so. Sometimes lots of activities even if they’re all fun can make you feel stressed by keeping you busy all the time. On the other hand, if problems at home are bugging you, some after-school activities may actually help you relax and feel better.
Getting enough sleep and eating healthy food are two great ways to help handle stress.
You also can use relaxation exercises to get rid of stress. The easiest one to do is to inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this two to four times, but don’t take in too much air too quickly because it can make you feel lightheaded and dizzy.
You can do exercises like this anytime, without anyone noticing. You can even do breathing exercises in class if you’re nervous before a test.
Stress In Children Ages 4
This age group under stress might show signs of regression. For instance, children that have been successfully potty-trained may wet the bed again or have toileting accidents. A child may start sucking his or her thumb again. Children may have trouble paying attention to you. They may have temper tantrums and separation anxiety. Battles about eating and bedtime may be reoccurring.
Toddlers and young school-age children often show their emotional stress in physical ways. Complaints of their tummies hurting is a common reaction. This has some truth to it. When we are stressed, our bodies make chemicals that have physical effects. We call this the fight or flight reaction, a surge of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Our guts also have their own nervous system called the enteric nervous system. These nerves react to the same to stress hormones and neurotransmitters that our brains do. Those hormones can make a stomach feel funny or hurt. Additionally, stress lowers the pain threshold. A hypersensitive nervous system sends signals up the spine and relays pain signals to the brain when a child is stressed.
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The Neuroception Of Threat Vs Safety
Neuroception is a term that describes how our nervous system distinguishes whether situations or people are safe or threatening. This is done completely on an unconscious level in the primitive part of the brain. Our brains are wired to constantly take in information about our environment and make a decision about whether we are safe or not.
Intense or extreme behavior is usually related to a childs perception of threat or safety. It doesnt matter whether the threat is real or not it can trigger a stress response. Anything in your childs environment, no matter how uneventful or nonthreatening it may seem, can trigger angry behavior if his nervous system perceives a threat. Keep in mind that your child could be triggered into a stress response about something traumatic that happened a long time ago. Again, its important to realize that these triggers are unique to each child and it can take a bit of deep digging to uncover what triggers your child.
Remember that the stress response is simply the brain dealing with a situation that feels potentially harmful to your child. Its automatic and instantaneous and your child has no control over it in the moment that it is happening.
Keep Stress Under Control
Here are some things that can help keep stress under control:
Take a stand against overscheduling. If you’re feeling stretched, consider cutting out an activity or two, choosing just the ones that are most important to you.
Be realistic. Don’t try to be perfect no one is. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. If you need help with something like schoolwork or dealing with a loss, ask for it.
Get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep helps keep your body and mind in top shape, making you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors. Because the biological “sleep clock” shifts during adolescence, many teens prefer staying up a little later at night and sleeping a little later in the morning. But if you stay up late and still need to get up early for school, you may not get all the hours of sleep you need.
- Learn to relax. The body’s natural antidote to stress is called the relaxation response. It’s the opposite of stress, and is a feeling of well-being and calm. You can activate the relaxation response simply by relaxing. Learn and practice easy breathing exercises, then use them when you’re caught up in stressful situations.
You can do things to handle the stress that comes along with any new challenge, good or bad. Stress-management skills work best when they’re practiced ahead of time, not just when the pressure’s on. Knowing how to “de-stress” and calm yourself can help you get through challenging circumstances.
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