There’s a lot of talk about the detrimental effects of stress on adults, but children can be victim of stress too, with a similarly negative outcome. The issue is all the more difficult because of the fact that kids cannot fully understand themselves and their surroundings yet. As a parent it may appear to be a daunting task to know when they’re stressed, but it’s imperative that you tune into their thoughts and feelings as much as you can.
Play with them regularly
I get it life gets busy. It’s go time all the time and that makes it really difficult to stop and enjoy quality playtime with your kids. However, for their well-being, it is important to create time just for the family. As parents we are responsible for all aspect of their well-being and that includes their mental wellbeing. Taking the time to sit down and play with your kids, go on a walk or head to the park will brighten their day and I bet yours too!
Don’t Pack Their Schedule
I know your schedule is jam-packed, mine is too. It feels like we always have something to do. My kids? They don’t love that. Sometimes they just want to hang out and be. I’ve made a huge effort to get everything I need to get done errand wise while Mason is at school so that when he comes home he can just chill out. School days are long and it’s nice to let your kids relax and not feel so much pressure. When it comes to after-school activities for the kids we also try to limit them. They’ll have the rest of their lives to have somewhere to be! If the kids aren’t in love with an extra-curricular we move onto the next thing.
Proper Diet & Sleep
What your kids eat and how much sleep they get has a direct effect on their health. And I’m not just talking about germs. Kids who are healthier are more resistant to stress. Make sure you’re feeding them high energy foods that help fuel their brains and bodies for playing and learning. When it comes to sleep make sure they’re getting enough. How much they need depends on their age. For my older two, aged 3 and 6 I aim for 10-12 hours a night, comfy pajamas with their favorite characters might help. Try looking for those in Kohl’s, there are plenty of special deals right now if you shop with coupons that you can find at Discountrue.com or other couponing sites.
Publicly praise your children
Help elevate the esteem of your children by pointing out the best in them, this is especially effective in front of their friends. This will help them to cultivate a positive attitude towards themselves and lower their likelihood of being stressed in social situations. Reprimanding them unnecessarily and publicly can destroy their self-esteem and it’s our jobs as parents to build it up, not tear it down.
Listen to them
Children are happy when they are given the attention they need. They especially want to know that they’re being heard. While it can be very hard in the heat of the moment to stop and liten to your children it’s so important to make sure that you’re letting them share their thoughts and feelings with you. I highly recommend “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” to help you figure out the best ways to listen and acknowledge your children. Knowing that they can tell you anything and that you will listen is huge for kids. When they are stressed out and feeling anxious they will come to you instead of bottling it up because they know you’re there for them!
Manage your own stress
Children are sponges. Not only are they learning something new every single day but they’re also picking up on the way you are feeling. Teach them healthy ways to manage and cope with stress like coloring or journaling. You also want to make sure that you’re not sharing your stress with them. Your children do not need to know that you’re fighting with their Dad or that you’re late on paying a bill! Naturally, you will have good and bad days and sometimes your kids will know about the problems you are facing. The important thing is to make sure your problems aren’t becoming their problems!
Doing all of these things will be such a huge benefit to your children. It all boils down to the parent-child connection. How connected are you to your children? How can you improve that connection?