With changes in lifestyles and the environment, peer and parental pressure, as well as societal expectations, stress has become a major cause of concern among children from a young age. With every year that passes by, there are changes in the system, advancements in technology, and a lot more that’s expected from children each day which might be overwhelming for them.
As a parent, here’s what you can do to ensure your child is better equipped to deal with stress.
1. Let your child know you are approachable
Every child needs an adult who can understand what they are going through, and can guide them to make better decisions. However, children may not speak out about their problems without a lot of prompting or encouragement. Ask your children about their day, and prompt them to open up by pointing out aspects of their behaviour that indicate their mood with statements such as “You seem to be a little down in the dumps today. Did something happen?”
2. Give importance to play
Physical activity stimulates the body and mind, and also helps in the production of endorphins, which are hormones that lift up one’s mood. By encouraging your children to engage in at least half an hour of play can help them deal with stress in a significantly better manner
3. Space out their schedules
With the level of importance given to grades, competitions, and academic performance, children end up doing a lot more within a day than is healthy for them. The average student goes to school for eight hours, is expected to be completely attentive and at peak performance in class, has tuitions in the evenings, extra-curricular classes, and homework to complete before going to bed. Make sure your child has enough time to rejuvenate each day without having to think of the things they are expected to do.
4. Allow mistakes
Kids tend to feel pressurised because of the consequences they would face if they are not living up to expectations. Letting your children know that mistakes are inevitable, and that they won’t face punishment for doing something incorrectly goes a long way in reducing the amount of stress they feel.
5. Teach your child how to think calmly and critically
A lot of stress that children feel is due to their feeling of helplessness, or not knowing how to get out of a difficult situation. Teach your children how to think objectively, and help them figure out steps to deal with a stressful circumstance. Getting them acquainted with techniques such as mindfulness and meditation would also help them get in touch with their feelings, and deal with stress in a calmer, more rational manner.
Children just need to know that their parents are on their side, and will support them through any difficulty. Set aside some quality time to spend with your child each day, and equip them with the mindset and confidence required to handle any challenges that life throws at them.