As an adult with many responsibilities and burdens, stress is seen as a normal part of your everyday life. Your child, however, should not feel this way. Because children aren’t inherently stressed by life (the way adults are), when they are, it’s relatively noticeable, meaning it’s easy to spot the signs of stress in a child. Because of that, it becomes easier to take positive steps toward helping them.
Before you can truly solve your child’s stress, you should try to pinpoint the source of their stress or stresses. Once you have recognized the possible reasons behind your child’s increased stress levels, it’s easier to know the correct route for doing something about them.
Here are a few helpful, encouraging ways to diminish your child’s stress and help them feel better.
1. Encourage them to play outside.
Encouraging activities that feed your child’s appetite for freedom can reduce stressful times. Having them play outside, explore the yard (with your supervision), and interact with nature are all great ways to help reduce stress levels. No matter how technologically advanced your life gets, you still have that connection to nature that needs to be nourished, and this is especially true with children.
Make sure you’re playing outside with your kids so they can learn by example. If you stay inside all day, then your child will likely do the same, as children tend to follow the example of their parents. However, if you make time to go outside and appreciate nature, then they’ll be encouraged to explore that avenue, too.
Throw a football, throw a frisbee, or play basketball. Show that being outside can be fun. Show them that sweating is not a bad thing. This encourages a healthy lifestyle and allows you to bond with your child. It also prompts a different type of communication, which can be hugely helpful with stress. You should always talk to your children–even about the stressful things–but opening a new line of communication with them is often a lot easier when you’re out exploring the outdoors.
2. Instill a family routine.
Family night provides comfort and a dependable ritual your little one can count on to be the one thing that may seem consistent in an ever-changing world.
Giving them a safe, secure, and dependable home can be the comforting routine they need. A fun game or movie night can also help do wonders for alleviating stress. In the end, children need to know they’re safe, that you, as their parent, will make sure that nothing bad can happen to them. Establishing a family routine that you always stick to can help to create that pattern, that safe space for your child to help cement the idea that no matter how stressful life gets, they’ll always be a priority to you.
3. Communicate calmly and consistently.
Talking to your child might seem like an easy, obvious part of reducing stress. Ultimately, it is, but it needs to be a consistent effort, which means that you need to continue keeping an open line of communication with your child even when it gets tough. Children understand a lot more than you might think, which means that they could be feeling stress from factors you hadn’t initially considered. Make sure you’re consistently and calmly talking to your child–not just reassuring them and making them feel safe, but creating a healthy, secure space where they can talk out their feelings, emotions, and problems. Often, getting your child to open up about their stress is going to start with ensuring they feel safe and secure with you. Once you’re able to accomplish that, ensure you’re keeping the lines of communication open.
4. Encourage their imagination.
Sports, after-school activities, and appointments like piano lessons or other organizations can leave your child stressed and over-committed. Playtime, on the other hand, encourages imagination, which can help reduce stress and even help teach your kids about managing their anxiety.
There are many ways to help your child find a creative outlet for their emotions. Check out these ideas to stimulate your child’s creativity.
Consider buying an art table with an easel or taking your child to clay-making class. This will give them an outlet for creativity without fear of rejection. It can be a fantastic medium to kickstart your child’s imagination and relieve stress.
Your child does not have to read or write for you to lead them in the story train. Start a story, and let your child tell a little part of it on a scene-by-scene basis. Even if you have several children, this is a great idea to have them thinking on the ball and interacting with one another.
Play dress up
Allowing your child to have access to old or funky clothes of yours can help spark imagination and role-playing activities. You can even make a game of it, asking them to dress up as a certain character and kicking their imagination into gear as they try to fit the character’s description with clothes they have available.
5. Reduce screen time.
Simply by reducing the time your child can access a tablet, video game, smartphone, or computer can make a huge difference in your child and their stress levels. Not only does screen time take exercise time away from your child, but it also can induce sensory overload, promoting stress and disrupting overall sleep patterns.
Simply by putting a time limit on how much your child can play can help reduce the stress of technology. Encourage them to interact physical world, move around, and enjoy life beyond the screen. Moreover, reducing the amount of time they have access to the news, violent movies, and certain images or videos can be the key to easing that stress in their day-to-day lives.
For more information
If you think your child is experiencing stress, then you should take action as quickly as possible. If you have specific questions about your child or if you have noticed that they are much more stressed (or stressed more easily) than other children, then contact KentuckyCare at (866) 810-7602 today to speak with a healthcare professional.