Relaxing is something we all want, yet we never find time for it. Life can be very stressful and fast-paced and we never let our bodies and minds relax. Even when we are “relaxing” we are still thinking about what we have to do next!
Adults stress about the responsibilities of maintaining a family and paying the bills among other things. But kids also experience stress. They might not be able to let you know but there are some behaviors that are signs of stress. Here are a few:
- mood changes
- changes in sleep patterns; they have nightmares
- may show behaviors of a younger age (thumb sucking, bedwetting, clinging, etc.).
- no appetite or wanting to eat all the time
- need to go to the bathroom a lot
- bite their nails
- engage in disruptive behavior
If you notice some sudden changes in your child’s behavior, stress could be a possibility. And you may ask what on earth could they be stressed about? Well, definitely not about paying the bills but the main reason children get stressed is due to new experiences and new skills. In other words, changes in their world. From the more natural changes like learning to play with a ball to new siblings, moving (remember that post?) or making new friends. Parents and caregivers should model/teach them ways to manage their stress. Here are a few examples:
- keep a consistent routine
- make sure they sleep well
- eliminate the stressor, if you know what it is
- laugh, make jokes, sing, dance
- find quiet times
- do something active, like jumping, or playing a sport
- do a creative, calming activity like coloring
These activities will help your child manage their stress and learn how to deal with a stressful situation. Remember if the behaviors persist, then take them to their doctor.
What other activities can we do with our children to help them manage their stress?