Stress Management for Kids
Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but too much stress can have negative consequences on health. Therefore, it's important to teach children coping skills to deal with adverse situations and develop resilience. In this blog, we share how you can help your kids manage stress.
One of the first steps is to manage your own stress well. By modeling healthy coping behaviors and creating a calm environment at home, your child will also learn how to stay calm under pressure. It also creates a relaxing area for your child to feel more at ease. You can even find stress relief activities to do together like yoga, meditation, and practicing mindfulness. Meditation can give kids the break they need from their overwhelming thoughts or from the things that are causing them stress. It has been shown to calm the nervous system and decrease stress hormones. It can also help your child think more clearly and improve their focus, allowing them to tolerate stressful situations better. Learning how to meditate can take some practice so let your child know not to feel discouraged if the first few attempts don't work well. Daily and intentional practice over time can lead to successful results.
If your child is overwhelmed or feeling pressured, encourage them to open up to you. Being able to vent and talk through a situation can help your child feel better. But some kids might feel reluctant to share, especially if the stress is caused from bullying, relationship problems, or being excluded. Remind them that they can talk to you and that you will listen without judgment. Ask open-ended questions and show empathy during the conversation to get your child to reveal what's going on.
Finding the root of what's causing your child to feel overwhelmed or anxious can help you determine how to best support your kid. For example, if your child is stressed out about an upcoming exam, school project, or college applications, you can help them break down their study plan or tasks into small steps. When kids learn how to map out their schedule and manage their time, it can help make things feel more doable and ease the pressure. Your child might feel anxious about doing well on a test or getting into college, so encouraging them to practice daily affirmations can boost their confidence and decrease the stress.
Sometimes, social media can be the reason for your child feeling pressured in life. It is very common for teens to scroll through social media and compare themselves to others, whether it's on appearance, social life, or success. Remind your child that social media doesn't always give the full picture nor does it always represent reality. Talk to them about healthy social media behaviors, including not spending too much time on it, and let them know about all of the positive traits they have and things in life to improve their self-esteem.
Taking care of the other areas of health, including diet, sleep, and exercise, is important for stress management. Make sure your child is getting enough rest each night. Inadequate or disruptive sleep can increase stress while getting a good night's rest can help your child regulate their stress levels. Exercise is also helpful as it lowers adrenaline and cortisol and a healthy diet will provide your child with the energy they need to handle difficult situations.
Even though some stress is inevitable, keeping up with good healthy habits and healthy coping behaviors can help your child manage their stress. If you have any concerns about your child's anxiety or mental health, contact our office.