We always think of “stress” as being an adult issue, but you’d be surprised how much stress kids are under. School, after-school activities, sports: these are all causes of stress for kids these days. Add to this the things they need to do every day like chores and other family activities, and you have a recipe for disaster.
So how do we help kids manage their stress? It’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3…
- Don’t overschedule. Setting limits for kids is a parent’s/guardian’s job. We need to teach them to manage their time wisely, and the only way to do that is to set limits on how many sports and extra-curricular activities they can participate in. If a child doesn’t have any time to decompress from the stresses of the day, they can start having sleep problems (too much or too little) and they could start having health problems.
- Teach them how to listen to their bodies for clues indicating that they have stress: headaches, tummy-aches, changes in eating habits (too much or too little), changes in sleep habits, etc. If you catch these signs early, you can avert health issues related to stress.
- Teach them how to REALLY relax. Watching TV, playing video games, or reading books is not relaxing. These things can cause tension as well. They need to learn to relax their minds. Start with warm washcloths or eyepads over their eyes, and show them deep breathing exercises.
My children practice stress-relief techniques all the time. My 3 boys love the heated neckwraps and cucumber eyepads that I use in my mobile spa business, so I treat them as often. The first time we tried relaxation therapy, they giggled and it was hard to get them to settle down. But after the first couple of times, they really started to enjoy it. Now they come to me and ask me for the neck “hugs” 🙂
For more suggestions on how to create a relaxing experience for you and your kids at home, see my prior post To Spa or Not to Spa. And the most important thing is to have fun with it and enjoy the time with your kids, they grow up too fast!
- Meditation program helping stressed kids (abclocal.go.com)
- How does stress affect your appetite? (greenanswers.com)
- Returning to Classrooms, and to Severe Headaches (The New York Times)