Childhood Stress: children are often stressed in our hurried society. There are many steps parents may take to reduce the stress children are experiencing in our culture.
The following bullet-points represent areas of life that may be modified to increase the security and comfort in our children’s lives.
- Provide a safe, secure, familiar, consistent, and dependable home.
- Be selective in the television programs that young children watch (including news broadcasts) which can produce fears and anxiety.
- Spend calm, relaxed time with your children.
- Encourage your child to ask questions.
- Encourage expression of concerns, worries, or fears.
- Listen to your child without being critical.
- Build your child's feelings of self-worth. Use encouragement and affection, try to involve your child in situations where he or she can succeed.
- Strive to use positive encouragement and reward instead of punishment.
- Allow the child opportunities to make choices and have some control in his or her life. This is particularly important because research shows that the more people feel they have control over a situation, the better their response to stress will be.
- Encourage physical activity.
- Develop awareness of situations and events that are stressful for children. These include new experiences, fear of unpredictable outcomes, unpleasant sensations, unmet needs or desires, and loss.
- Recognize signs of unresolved stress in your child.
- Keep your child informed of necessary and anticipated changes such as changes in jobs or moving.
- Seek professional help or advice when signs of stress do not decrease or disappear.
What Older Children can do to Relieve Stress
An open, accepting flow of communication in families helps to reduce childhood stress which can cause anxiety and depression in children. Encourage your children to discuss their emotions and help them discuss simple ways to change the stressful situation or their response to it.
Below are some tips that older children can follow themselves to help reduce stress:
- Talk about your problems. If you cannot communicate with your parents, try someone else that you can trust.
- Try to relax. Listen to calm music. Take a warm bath. Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths. Take some time for yourself. If you have a hobby or favorite activity, give yourself time to enjoy it.
- Exercise. Physical activity reduces stress.
- Set realistic expectations. Do your best, and remember that nobody is perfect.
- Learn to love yourself and respect yourself and respect others. Be with people who accept and respect you.
- Remember that drugs and alcohol never solve problems.
- Ask for help if you are having problems managing your stress.