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HELPING KIDS MANAGE STRESS

What is stress?

Stress is a state of continuous worry or tension caused by unpleasant thoughts or feelings. It can affect the child’s state of mind and health. Stress is the normal response to the pressure that we face in our day-to-day lives. But it can turn unhealthy when it interferes with daily functioning.


As a parent, it is essential to identify stress in its early stages and take corrective measures. Everyone experiences stress to some degree. The way people respond to stress, however, makes a big difference in their overall well-being. Excessive stress is harmful to the individual.


Click this link to take a quiz to find out if your child is experiencing symptoms of stress.


Types of stress

Stress can be broadly classified as acute or chronic. Acute stress is a short-term response, such as the stress experienced when preparing for a competitive exam. It subsides once the exam pressure is over. Chronic stress is persistent and ongoing, as seen in situations like enduring cyberbullying or constantly facing teasing and criticism for your appearance. Another form of stress is positive stress (eustress). This kind of positive stress keeps you energized and gives you an adrenaline rush to complete a particular task or activity. It helps improve performance and is a motivating factor.



Recognizing stress in children is not always straightforward. In many cases, children can adapt to chronic stress and may not be fully aware of its presence. For example, when facing continuous bullying at school due to their appearance, children may reach a point where they feel helpless and unable to take action. They might initially report the issue to their teachers or parents, but if the bullying persists, they may eventually resign themselves to the situation and become accustomed to it.


It can gradually wear them down, potentially impacting their health and relationships. This may lead to moodiness and a tendency to withdraw into their shells, possibly resulting in low self-esteem. In more severe cases, older children may even experience depression, especially when dealing with additional pressures at home or school. However, there are specific signs that can help you identify if your child is experiencing stress.


Signs of stress in children

Psychological signs

Children might have difficulty concentrating in school or at home. They might be in their own world, worrying about the stressful incident. They might look worried and anxious and have trouble remembering things.


Emotional signs

Children might express anger or irritation at the slightest of things. They might be moody or frustrated.


Physical signs

Children may develop high blood pressure, obesity, and frequent colds or infections due to chronic stress


Behavioral signs

Children show a lack of interest in socializing or pursuing a hobby. They

might rely on drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress.


If a child exhibits any of the above signs, then immediate action is necessary to help them.


Ways to help your child manage stress

Talk to your child


Make it a point to chat with your child every day. Discuss what happened in school and learn what they did with their friends during break time. While having an open conversation, either your child might open up about a stressful incident or you as a parent, might be able to read the cues.


Relaxation techniques


Teach your child to relax, unwind, and practice deep breathing to calm the nervous system. An example would be to inhale deeply through the nose for four counts and exhale slowly through the mouth for four counts. Continue doing this for a minimum of 3-5 minutes.



Physical Activity


Regular exercise, such as walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing, can reduce stress hormones, increase oxygen supply to the brain, and boost mood. Get your child to practice 20 minutes of physical activity every day.


Healthy Eating


Teach your child about healthy eating. Consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains as part of a balanced diet. Reduce eating processed foods, sugar, and caffeine. After all, a sound mind grows from a sound body.


Adequate Sleep


Ensure your child gets enough sleep to help their body and mind recover from daily stressors. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule.


Time Management


Help your child organize tasks and prioritize them. Break up difficult jobs into more manageable pieces. For instance, while studying for exams, instruct them to divide the course material into manageable chunks and allot time each day for revision


Journaling


Encourage your child to maintain a journal. Ask them to write down their thoughts and feelings at the end of each day. This can help them gain clarity and reduce emotional turmoil. Maintaining a gratitude journal will allow them to feel thankful for what they have and not stress about what they don't have.


Seek Professional Help


If your child is highly stressed by a traumatic incident that affects their daily life, consider seeking help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor


Choose a hobby or a sport


Set aside time for relaxation and hobbies your child enjoys. Engaging in enjoyable activities can reduce stress. It will also help them pick a skill and be more confident.


Learner Circle

Leaner Circle offers a wide variety of online programs for children. We have dedicated teachers who teach guitar, keyboard, music, and dance according to the needs and pace of the children. Music and dance are great ways to destress. They give joy to the learner and promote a mind-body connection. Children become confident as they acquire new skills and get a chance to discover their passion.


To learn more about Learner Circle, click here.

To book a free demo session, click here.


Conclusion

Remember that coping strategies vary from person to person, so it's essential to find what works best for your child. Most importantly, parents should be role models for their children. They must practice stress management techniques and take good care of their physical and mental health. After all, every child watches their parents and follows them, either consciously or unconsciously. Combining multiple strategies and maintaining a consistent self-care routine can be particularly effective in managing stress and promoting overall well-being.


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