Stress is simply a reaction to anything that disturbs our physical or emotional balance. As adults, we encounter stress in our daily lives through our jobs, relationships, daily activities and finances but did you know that our children also deal with stress?
We look at our children and see smiling happy faces with lots of energy living seemingly care-free lives. Someone cooks for them, does their laundry, helps with school work and drives them to daily activities. Life is easy when you’re young, right? Not necessarily.
According to a survey completed by the American Psychological Association the number one thing that children ages 8-17 worry about is doing well in school. Other sources of stress include pressure to perform in extracurricular activities and relationships with parents.
Young children may not be able to recognize stress and are less able to communicate what they are feeling. Stress in young children can appear in different ways:
- Irritability and moodiness
- Withdrawing from or refusing to participate in activities they previously enjoyed
- Expressing worry
- Being fearful Clinging to a parent or teacher
- Changes in sleep patterns: sleeping too much or too little
- Changes in eating: eating too much or not enough
The first steps to reducing stress in children starts with the basics:
- Make sure your children are eating right. Include lots of fruits and vegetables in their diets and make sure they have access to healthy snacks.
- Make sure your kids are getting enough sleep. Children and teens need significantly more sleep than adults.
- Make sure your kids are getting enough exercise. Get your kids outside and moving or enjoy a family activity like roller skating!