How can I help my child with stress?
Global pandemics, exam stress, social media - children today are living with higher levels of uncertainty and pressure than the generations before them.
Perhaps you’re experiencing some stress and anxiety too.
So as a parent, what can you do to help?
Here we have some information and tips on how to help your child relax and begin to lower their stress levels.
Spot the signs
First up, know that every child will show signs of feeling stressed in different ways.
Some of the common things that you might see include:
Being moody or irritable
Stopping activities they once enjoyed
Often expressing worry
Complaining about school
Showing fearful reactions
Becoming overly clingy
Changing eating and sleeping patterns
Be a good listener
Often, one of the main causes of stress at home is lack of communication. Yes, it’s important to get your view across but sometimes just being a good listener is the most important thing.
Think of it this way - if your child knows that they can open up to you without things escalating, they’ll be more likely to work with you to find solutions to their problems.
Walk away when you need to
Adding stress to stress doesn’t help anyone go anywhere. If you can feel the tension rising at home, take a moment alone and give everyone some space before coming back to talk about it.
This is the first step in being proactive and it sets a good example for your child.
Find out how they want to relax
Ask your child to lead with ideas - do they want a certain space to be in? Do they want company or to be left alone when they’re feeling anxious?
Changing the environment can help us to reset and get perspective on the cause of our stress.
Try out some relaxing activities
Your child might take comfort in doing something familiar, or perhaps they’d prefer to try out something new and would gain confidence from a new experience.
Here are some of our favourite ways to relax.
Karate, dance, circuit training, Mixed Martial Arts. Staying active is fantastic for good mental wellbeing. It gets your endorphins going, boosts your mood and raises self-esteem.
Try to aim for at least 20-30 minutes of activity a day!
Getting outside is scientifically proven to boost your mood. Whether it’s a stroll in your local park, hiking or even birdwatching, being in nature can help improve our mood and help us feel more relaxed.
Getting arty is great for young minds. It allows them to explore their creativity, helps them to relax, and is a perfect alternative to their screens. When immersed in an arty task, we can reach a calm, meditative place, where they are distracted from the worries of life.
Research tells us that young people with good cooking skills feel better and report less symptoms of depression. Baking cakes, cooking a hearty stew, or just beans on toast, doing something to nourish yourself and your loved ones can be a very empowering experience.
Watch the sky
Whether you’re stargazing, cloud watching, or catching the sunset - taking a look at the changing sky and landscape can be a very effective stress release. Not only does this activity require stillness and presence, but it reminds us that there’s a wider world out there that’s always changing.
Check in with other feelings
Stress will often be the cause or effect of other things going on in their lives, so this is where talking openly helps. See if you can find some solutions together, then check in regularly to see how they’re going.
If you think your child may be becoming anxious, angry or depressed, we have more guides to help you.