Children facing stress


Just like adults, children also struggle with stress…

A certain amount of stress is normal, even desirable. It is normal to feel stressed about starting school, kindergarten or university, taking a test, having some problems with peers or parents…
But, too many commitments, too many conflicts in the family, too many problems with colleagues or peers can overwhelm a child or a young person and cause severe health problems, mental as well as physical. Children who face stress and do not know how to deal with it usually reach for instant and short-term solutions such as food, drugs or alcohol abuse. Children reach for fast solutions, something that can make them feel better right now, right away.

How can parents help a child to deal with problems and prevent negative stress effects?
Parents should try to teach children how to solve problems, how to plan and how to prioritize – the importance of saying “yes” and “no” to activities and commitments according to their abilities, not other people’s expectations.

One good example is better than thousands of words… It is important to give a good example and manage one’s own stress. It is contagious and if parents are stressed out, always in a hurry, nervous, we assure you that the children will follow the given pattern. Parents are the first ones to show how to deal with stress, how to organize a day to minimize it, how to relax and slow down from time to time.
Start with a morning calmer. Mornings set the tone for the day. If you start it nervously, if you are always in a hurry, it is most likely that your day will follow the same pattern.
One of the biggest problems children are faced with today is overloading. Children are expected to pay attention and perform at school for more than five hours a day, have extracurricular activities and be prosperous, do their homework, with no time for playing, resting, hanging out with friends…ID-10063266

Don’t forget the importance of playing. It is a natural need for a child. Some children, overwhelmed with their obligations, forget how to play. It is critical for their well-being. Let them engage in a play or activity – bikes, balls, running, hanging around with other kids…
Children need a break and if they cannot recognize that need themselves it is important that a parent does. Parents should know when children are overloaded and need a pause or rest. Everyone should have a few hours a week just for relaxing activities.

One of the indicators that too much is going on is the way of consuming meals. If one is eating in motion, in a car, just grabbing food and having it underway, it is definitively time to stop and slow down.

The other very important aspect is having enough sleep and having quality sleep. This is vital for child’s health and it helps minimize stress effects. It is helpful to create an environment that enables it. For instance, determine bedtime; keep TV, telephone, computers or other devices out of a child’s bedroom. It is really important to teach children to listen to their bodies, to understand their needs and physiology of stress. Children should know which things are normal and which are not; they should be able to express them, to talk about them.
Some children have problems with mistakes. They simply do not know how to deal with failures. They should be aware that mistakes and failures are also a part of life and need not be negative in every aspect. We can learn from mistakes, we acquire experience, new perspectives, some life-important lessons…
It is important not to criticize, but be constructive and supportive, help children to recover, fix it, make amends, learn a lesson and go on.

“School Boy Being Stressed” - Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /
“Mother And Daughter”- Image courtesy of Ambro / 

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