Kids and Stress
Are you a parent? Can you feel the stress just emanate from your kids whenever they come home from school? The stress levels in our kids have changed dramatically in the last two decades. There is so much pressure from school and social media it’s no wonder your child is stressed out. As adults we may think “what do they have to stress about, they don’t have to work, pay bills or make sure the car is working”… but in reality, their stress is still very harmful to their health.
The mind and body are so closely connected that if stress levels are not managed there can be emotional and physical symptoms that come from stress. The most common symptoms are anxiety, feeling tired, procrastinating on responsibilities, having negative thoughts, and changes in sleeping habits. When these are not managed well they can lead to chronic anxiety, high blood pressure, weakened immune system and can also contribute to obesity, depression and even heart disease in children.
Here are some tips to help your child work through their stress:
Exercise can work wonders for serotonin levels and increasing those “happy” brain chemicals. Find something that they will like doing. Suggest to your teen to try some different types of exercise from running, Zumba and spin classes to yoga and Pilates that use breath work to help lower stress. Once they find something they like doing it won’t be a “chore” for them, but something they can’t wait to do because it makes them feel amazing.
Make sure they get enough sleep. Let them see how well they feel when they get nine hours of sleep on the weekend and encourage them to do the same thing during the school week. If they are inundated with homework try and help them set up a time/management plan so that they don’t feel so overwhelmed by everything.Sleep is key for physical and emotional well-being. Let them know that they will get a much deeper sleep if they stop looking at their computer, cell phone and television an hour before they go to sleep. This will help their brain re-boot and maximize their chances of sleeping more soundly through the night.
Help them balance out their work and life during their school week. Make sure they can get the schoolwork done but also to schedule time to have fun with friends and family.
Find a hobby or activity that they enjoy and encourage them to do it often. It could be listening to music, drawing or reading. Make sure they try and do these even when they are stressed as it will help lessen the anxiety levels.
Talk with your teen about the things they are really good at. Find ways to let them shine and tell them they shine. Having them focus on their strengths will help them keep their stress in perspective.
Talk with them and let them know they can always come to you without judgment if they need to talk about anything. Remind them that they can call an aunt, friend or a favorite teacher if they don’t want to chat with you. Giving them options will allow them the opportunity to reach out to others when they really need it.