Dealing With Childhood Stress: Stress Relief Tips For Kids
Kids might not deal with the everyday challenges of adults -overdue bills, hectic work schedule- they nevertheless also encounter stress in their young lives. Have you ever felt sick to your stomach during a test like the upcoming Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE)? Have you had days when you were so loaded down with homework that you had trouble sleeping? Have you ever been so worried about something that you ended up with a terrible headache? If so, then you know what it’s like to feel stress. You’ve probably heard people say, ” I’m really stressed out” or “This is making me totally stressed.” You hear adults say those kinds of things all the time. But kids have lots of things going on in their lives that can cause stress, too.
Stress can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable. When you’re stressed you may not feel like sleeping or eating, or you might sleep or eat too much. You also may feel cranky or have trouble paying attention at school and remembering things at home. Adults can help children and teens with stress in many ways. Three important things you can do are to:
I. Try to reduce the amount of stress in your lives.
II. Help them build positive coping skills.
III. Teach them to let stress out.
Reduce The Amount of Stress
Recognize your child’s feelings: When a child is expressing an emotion like sadness and fear, tell the you recognize their feelings. If appropriate, reassure the child that you understand where the emotions are coming from.
Foster & Nurture Trust: Children should be able to feel they can come to you due to a healthy relationship founded on trust. Let your child know that mistakes are learning experiences.
Be Supportive: Listen to your child’s concerns. If possible, allow your child to solve their problems independently. Be a source of help and guidance when your child needs it.
Project Love: Hug your child often. Your child should realize you are a source of love, warmth and care.
Be Aware: Keenly note what your child wants. Try not to integrate your desires ahead of your child.
Reduce an Overwhelming schedule: Realize when your child has too much going on in their day to day schedule.
Build Positive Coping Skills
The world is full of evolving challenges and engagements. Parents need to help their children learn positive coping skills. These skills will be crucial in their adult life.
Teach your child about consequences: Children need to learn about the consequences—good and bad—of their actions. For example, if they do all of their chores on time, they will get their allowance. If they break another child’s toy, they must find a way to replace it.
Serve as a good example: Keep calm when expressing emotions such as anger. Think through plans to reduce stress and share with your family.
Encourage rational thinking: Help your children understand what is fantasy and what is reality. For example, help them see that their behavior did not cause a divorce, or that they are not failures because they were not picked first for something.
Provide them with some control: Allow your children to make choices within your family framework. For example, allow them to arrange their rooms, choose family activities, and help make family decisions.
Encourage them to eat healthy foods, and emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Let The Stress Out
Finding ways of letting stress out of your child’s system will help them feel better. Relieving stress is subjective in nature. Try some of these to see which ones work for your child:
Laughter Works: Laughing is one of the best natural medicines in aiding stress relief. You can be a good role model in this area by looking for the humor in life. Your child will learn this valuable skill by watching you.
Do Breathing Exercises: Try to calm your child through belly breathing. Have them put one hand on their stomach and one hand on their chest. Direct them to “Breath into their belly”, feel their bottom hand rises as their chest stays still.Remind the to breath slowly and calmly.
Exercise: Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. For children, this means activities like walking, bike-riding, outdoor play, and individual and group sports.
Do something fun: A hobby can help your child relax, listening to music also helps. Volunteer work or work that helps others can be a great stress reliever for older children.
Let feelings out: Invite your child to talk, laugh, cry, and express anger when he or she needs to. Do not forget the power of a parent’s hug.
Head Outside: Spending time in nature has shown to reduce stress immediately and long-term.