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Stress Management for Kids

Stress Management for Kids

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - February 25th, 2019

Today, we welcome back guest blogger Archana Gupta, who is sharing some important tips on helping your child with stress management.

In today’s age of cut-throat competition, we are all tired, stressed and exhausted. As we are being overworked and over-scheduled, so are are our kids. So it is important to take stock and begin to manage our lives in a way that alleviates or reduces the stress we all face.

Deal with Your Own Stress First

To help our kids with stress management, first we need to learn to cope with our own stress levels, which otherwise manifests itself as depression and anger towards our children.

Work Together with Your Family to Battle Stress

We need to work as a family together to combat stress. To minimize their screen time, we need to minimize our screen time. We need to have family time–time to silently sit together, eat together, pray together and laugh together.

Where Does Stress Management Begin?

Meditation

The first step to combat stress is to control our “monkey-mind,” which is constantly wandering from one thought to another. We have approximately 50,000-80,000 thoughts per day leaving us anxious and depressed. The only way to calm our agitated mind is by doing meditation. Our children should sit silently and deep breathe at least for 5 minutes each day. This slows down the mind and also helps to generate positive thoughts and generates happy chemicals like serotonin in the brain. It also calms the brain and helps your children to develop patience and to become emotionally strong. Excessive speech agitates the mind. So in order to calm the mind, we need to practice silence and moderation in speech. We should talk only that is important, true and kind. Meditation reduces stress and boosts the immune system.

Proper Nutrition and Healthy Sleep

Proper nutrition and sleep play a vital role in managing stress. We should make sure that kids have a good sleep routine. They should sleep early and at the same time everyday, as their body has a sleep clock . Lack of sleep leads to stress, irritability, difficulty with learning and trouble concentrating and motivating. When our kids are getting cranky or show change in behavior, rather than trying to discipline them, we should try to think about the underlying cause of their behavior. We need to turn our cell phones off and spare one hour everyday just to sit and talk to them. Our children not only need our love and care, but they also need our time.

We should also make sure they don’t eat a lot of sweets, especially in the evening. It prolongs sleep time and makes them hyper. Also, we should make sure that they have less screen time during the day and no screen time at least 1 hour (if not more) before sleeping, as it interferes with their sleep.

Positive Thinking

The latest research says that with positive thinking even our dna can be altered and any disease can be reversed. So we need to teach our kids the power of positive thinking. Speaking positively and reinforcing positive ideas with your children is a great way to boost mental growth, as they are inspired to choose better, think better and be better.

Do Not Over-schedule

We need to stop over-scheduling activities for kids, so we can make time for play and family time. We should not pressure kids to succeed; instead, we should teach them to do their best and not get depressed by the result. Our focus should not only be to increase their intelligence quotient. Instead we should concentrate on making them emotionally strong, so that there is not a breakdown on facing failure. If kids are not emotionally strong, they have a tendency to get into depression when things are not going their way. It all starts at home.

We should have a stress-free atmosphere at home–not constantly pressuring children to perform. Home should be a happy place for children to unwind rather than being a stressful, scary place. We should not over-schedule activities for children and try to strike a balance between work and play.

A Successful Life is One with Self-Control

There was an experiment done on 3 kids. They were left in a room with sweets and told not to eat them. The first child immediately gave in and ate sweets. The second child waited for some time and then gave in, but the third child did not touch those sweets. The researchers observed these children for several years and discovered that the third child who demonstrated self control was most successful in his life and career, because he had self control and was emotionally very strong.

Take Notice of the Stressors and Learn to Manage Them Together

Overall, we need to notice the symptoms of stress in our children. Over-expectations can make children overwhelmed and over-packed schedules do not give them enough time to sleep and relax. Major life changing events like relocation or a death in family can be major stressors.

Here are areas in which to take notice.  Symptoms of stress in children are lack of sleep, crying, irritability, extreme sadness or anger, emotional changes and physical ailments. On encountering such symptoms in children, it’s essential to try to understand and handle them with patience, rather than trying to discipline them all the time. Parents need to create a supportive, low-stress environment for their children. Change in emotions — sad, clingy, withdrawn, angry or stress manifested physically–headaches and stomach aches, all can point to stress, as well.

Finally, did you know that prolonged exposure to cortisol hormone, which is released during the stress response in young children, can cause long-term damage to the developing brain and can negatively effect the immune system?  It is important to notice when your children are stressed and to teach them techniques to avoid and diminish the stress. Reducing stress by means of relaxation techniques can also help to boost the immune system. Let’s make our life and home a place of peace and happiness.

Archana Gupta is from from India and currently a citizen of US. She lives in Pennsylvania and is a full-time mom and a part-time substitute teacher. She also volunteers as a math tutor at Keystone Academy for GED students. Archana is also an active member of the International Sathya Sai Organization of USA that works towards the welfare of humanity. She recently started a blog called Inspiration to promote health and happiness among all.

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