Amidst the happy, carefree, play-filled world of children, there also exist stresses and anxieties. As parents and teachers, ensuring a healthy well-being among our children is our utmost concern. In this light, I have decided to look into ways on how parents and teachers alike can help children in dealing with stress.
How to help your child deal with stress? Helping out a stressed out child may require you to step into their shoes. What adults may perceive as light and fun for children might actually be the very thing causing the stress. It is essential to understand the specific triggers of this feeling for them.
To help us understand better, I have gathered some of the most common factors causing stress among children. I will be listing tips on how the situation may be handled better. As the rest of the article unfolds, it will hopefully put you in a better position to manage stress with your child.
Most Common Factors Causing Stress Among Children
In order to help the children more effectively, it is always essential to learn their causes of stress.
These are the most common factors:
- Exposure to new places and new faces
- Separation Anxiety from Parents
- Academic and Extracurricular Activities
- Disagreement among Family Members
1. Exposure to new places and new faces
Although children tend to be explorers, it may be overwhelming for them when they are suddenly exposed to strangers, and even new places. Their temperament, also plays a part in this. For instance, this usually happens when it’s your child’s first time to go to school. If your child is very reserved and shy, their stress levels will be high.
2. Separation Anxiety from Parents
At their tender young age, children are usually dependent and attached to their parents. If you spend the majority of your time with your children, it will be highly stressful for them when they suddenly see you leaving, even if you are just going to work or just dropping them off at preschool.
3. Overloaded Academic and Extracurricular Activities
Playing has probably got to be children’s most favourite past time. However, as they grow older, their learning responsibilities also increase. Some children experience being enrolled early in schools while juggling academics together with various extracurricular activities such as sports, music and arts.
With their overloaded schedules, they have less time to play. Without sufficient play, they lack the means to deal with stress.
4. Disagreement Among Family Members
Family plays a very important role in a child’s life. In fact, if you are a parent, you and your partner are practically the centre of your child’s world. For a child, it is ultimately stressful to see his or her parents’ fighting especially when they hear raising of voices.
Important Tips on Helping Your Child Deal With Stress
Ensure that your child eats well and gets enough sleep daily
Children are highly encouraged to eat healthily at least 3 times a day, drink 8 glasses of water and get around 8 – 10 hours of sleep. A well-rested child will be less cranky and feel more energised.
Make sure to say goodbye when you drop your child off at school
As mentioned earlier, separation anxiety is one of the most common stressors a child faces. If dropping off your child to preschool makes him or her cry, it is highly encouraged for you to say “goodbye” or “see you later”. This reassures your child that you will see one another again after school. The child may cry for a bit but with consistent follow-through, it may help them be at ease when you leave them for school.
This does not only apply when you’re going dropping them off to school. It also goes the same whether you are leaving for a business trip or a vacation trip with your partner. Your children will definitely miss you when you go but at least letting them know your whereabouts and how they may contact you will help put them at ease.
Take the time to check on your child and their school activities
By checking on your child, it can mean as simple as “how are you?”. This shows your concern and care for his or her well-being. While it is natural and understandable for parents to want their children to be an achiever in almost everything, it is also important to think about your child’s well-being.
There is nothing wrong with making them do and try things but at the same time, it is important to also take into consideration if their schedule might already be overloaded. Overloading a child’s schedule may leave them stressed out especially when it lessens their time for playing.
Always reconcile after a fight
Parents and children have their fair share of disagreements at times. Just like any other people, it stresses a child emotionally when he or she knows mommy and daddy are upset.
While it’s understandable that it’s part of disciplining, make sure your child is aware of what he or she did wrong. When you have calmed down, make sure you still communicate with your child in a kind and firm manner, and make them understand clearly why you were upset. Not only have they learned their mistake, it puts their emotions into a healthier state.
Teach them calming strategies
May it be a relaxing song, taking deep breaths, and counting 1-10, these calming strategies may help ease them the stress building up between them. You can even practice meditating with your child if he or she is ready.
General Advice About Helping Your Child Deal With Stress
In general, acknowledging and being aware of the stresses a child goes through shows respect and great care for them. As your child navigates this fast-paced world, let them know that they are not alone. Simply being there for them and giving them the encouragement they need will mean the world for your little one.
No matter how small or young they are, children should never be underestimated, especially their feelings. Following the above-listed tips and being aware of the stressors are just some ways to help them deal with stress. There may be more options out there, and just always remember to take into consideration how it will serve their well-being in the long run.
What other stress indicators should I look out for? Being stressed may bring them stomachaches and mood swings to your child. There might be manifestations of mood swings, tantrums and even bedwetting.
Should I encourage my son to face his fears? As long as it is done with proper guidance and advice, encouraging your child to face his fears may be beneficial for him. This will teach him resilience and that over time, the anxiety will lessen.