Kids Stress Too!
S-T-R-E-S-S is a companion in the lives of children, just as sure as it is in the lives of adults. While the issues that cause stress for kids differs from adults, the outcome can be the same. When stress goes unchecked and continues to mount, it can manifest in fatigue, anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, anger and depression. Stress can cause wear and tear and have a cumulative effect on kids and adults alike. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Stress can be managed, and the earlier we start teaching kids how to do so, the better the outcome.
Helping kids identify and manage emotions is a key skill. When we teach our kids to master their emotional lives, they can move on to find success in almost every other area of their lives, including academics, friendships, relationships, and ultimately, their career path. Kids who are taught social-emotional skills, such as managing this, become adults who can handle life with greater ease.
We teach our kids how to brush their teeth. We teach them how to tie their shoes. We teach them to look both ways before they cross the street. However, we often fall short when it comes to teaching them how to manage stress. In all likelihood, the majority of us can say that our parents never taught us. And nobody ever taught them. And so on, and so on. It’s time for a change.
Basics of Stress Management for Kids
1. Body Basics - Help your child learn to recognize and identify changes that take place within his body when he is getting stressed. Tight fists, clenched jaws, butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, trouble concentrating.
Next, teach him/her to use a few quick tools to reduce the stress. The following tools are no-cost, drug-free and can be done anywhere!
2. Breathe – Breathing is essential to helping ourselves find a place of calm. When we are stressed, we tend to breath shallow, and our breath is focused in our chest. Teach your child to breathe slowly in and out, blowing up his belly like a balloon.
3. Be Aware - … of your thoughts, that is. When we are stressed, our thoughts tend to become negative, which just fuels the fire. Point out to your child, “When you feel stressed out, you need to pay attention to what you are thinking. If you are thinking things like ‘I can’t stand this,’ or, ‘I can’t take this,’ you are adding to your stress. Instead you can say this to yourself, ‘I can handle this.’ ‘I don’t like this, but I will get through it.’ ‘I’ll wait for this to pass, and I know it will.’”
Remember, it takes awhile to learn a new behavior. Your child will need reminders, practice and support until these new skills take hold. Be patient. Practice the skills yourself and let your child witness you practice them.
Looking for a fun, stress reliever for your child? Sun Country Sports Center offers a wide variety of activities and events for children! For more information on Gym Jam, Kid Quest, Stay and Play, Little Lunchers or any of the many other options, visit us at SunCountrySports.com or give us a call at 352.331.8773!