It’s not only adults that experience stress; kids experience it, too. And although a certain amount of stress is good, being too stressed can be devastating.
When kids are not taught how to manage and overcome stress, some of them find solace in drugs and alcohol. Therefore, as a parent, you need to take stress management for kids seriously.
In this post, you will read about what you can do to ensure your children pick up the skills needed to manage their stress.
Tips on Stress Management for kids
- Start with yourself
As stated by researchers from Technische Universität Dresden and Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, watching someone else tense up can trigger the release of the stress hormone in our own bodies. From this, it can be inferred that when parents are stressed out, the kids would also be stressed out.
Consequently, before thinking of stress management for kids, parents need to first manage their own stress. As a parent that wants to help his or her children deal with stress, you need to lead by example. You need to slow down on the hustle-and-bustle of life and find time to relax. Also, find time to recreate with your family.
- Give room for downtime
Adults are used to thinking that they are the only ones that’s very busy and don’t have much time to rest. Kids can be very busy too. Many of them get to school by 7:00am and attend classes until 3:00 or 4:00pm. As if that is not enough, some of them get home and still spend some time with the home teacher and later do their homework.
They go through this routine from Monday to Friday, and sometimes the weekend is also dedicated to reading. With all these continuous academic activities, kids can get stressed out because their bodies and brains aren’t getting enough downtime to rest. The kids involved in such packed routines may not even realize that they stress out, therefore as a parent, you must pay attention to the academic workload of your children.
To help ensure your children aren’t stressed out because of school work, review their school schedule and integrate downtime for them to rejuvenate. The downtime should be a period when they aren’t doing anything related to academics. They can use the downtime to just simply kick-back and relax.
- Allow them to play
Some kids, especially the young ones are full of energy; so, if you ask them to stay in a place and relax after a busy day at school, they may find it uncomfortable. An effective stress management for kids in this situation is to allow them to play.
Playing and engaging in physical activities have lots of benefits; as such, using them as a stress management tool for children. Check out some fun after school activities that can help your children to relax and reduce stress.
- Prioritize sleep
Most students tend to sleep less during the examination period so that they can have more time to read. However, researchers have revealed that sleep plays a key role in helping students fix and consolidate memories; it also reduces stress and prevents the decay of memories.
If you observe that your children aren’t getting enough sleep, whether during an exam or not, it can be a sign that they have a lot on their table. So, you may want to look into their schedule and help cut out things that aren’t necessary.
Also, talk to them about the importance of sleep, and set up their bedroom to facilitate it. Remove TV and other electronic devices from their bedroom, as light or sound from such devices can make sleep difficult for kids, especially at night.
- Encourage them to take a warm bath
Having a warm bath makes blood to follow more smoothly and makes it more oxygenated. A warm bath can also reset our mood, calm down our body temperature, and facilitate sleep; hence, giving a warm bath is helpful in stress management for kids.
If you want the warm bath to aid easy sleeping, make your children have it 90 minutes before bedtime.
- Teach them to listen to their bodies
As an adult, you would have heard the popular “listen to your body” advice. You also need to tell your children about it and teach them how to do it. A psychotherapist, Lynn Lyons, suggests an interesting way of teaching kids how to listen to their body, concerning stress management.
She suggests that parents should sit in the car with their children, start the engine, press the pedals, and ask the children to listen to how the engine revs. Then parents should explain that just as the car engine revs and wears out over a period, if not constantly serviced; our body also revs and revs and can breakdown if not properly taken care of.
You can always adopt another illustration, but make sure this concept of stress management for kids is fully understood by your children.
- Be organized about the morning routine
While some parents don’t have any morning routine, some have a disorganized routine; either way, the kids are at the receiving end, as it triggers stress in them. Moreover, the tone for the day is mostly set by the morning routine. So, if you want the day of your children to be productive and less stressful, establish a thorough morning routine.
Other things you can do that would consolidate the morning routine include choosing clothes the night before and determining breakfast choice in advance. Learn about healthy and easy breakfast for kids in this post.
- Allow them to listen to music
Music has been proven to help trigger happiness and change mood, thus helping in stress management for kids and adults. Anytime you notice that your children are showing signs of being stressed out, just give them some headphones and allow them to listen to their favourite music.
Before you know it, they would start singing along and dancing to the music. They would get distracted about the stress they are going through and feel relieved.
- Teach your kids how to deal with mistakes
The fear of making a mistake can cause children to be stressed out. As a result, you need to constantly remind your children that making mistakes isn’t the end of the world. Let them realize that while it is important to learn how to make good decisions based on facts and figures, it is also important to learn how to recover from bad decisions.
Teaching your kids how to find the way forward after a shocking mistake would make them resilient and better manage their stress level.
- Encourage the use of a deep breathing exercise
Deep breathing exercise allows more oxygen into the body and helps relax the body and mind. This makes it a powerful tool for stress management for kids. To put the exercise into practice, choose a quiet place to sit with your children.
Then ask them to breathe in while silently counting to three, and when they get to three, they should breathe out. Repeat the step several times to get them used to it. Ask them how they feel about the exercise and encourage them to use it whenever they are feeling stressed out.
To make your children easily get used to this exercise, make it part of the morning routine. You can take the exercise a step further by introducing meditation.
The tips on stress management for kids in this post would go a long way in making your children learn about themselves and know how to prevent burnout. However, the change begins with you. As stated in the first point above, you have to start with yourself; you can’t teach stress management to your kids if you are living a stressful life.