It’s a difficult time for everyone at the moment which means stress levels are high. We often only associate stress with adults, but it can affect people of all ages – including kids. The pandemic has caused their lives to tip upside down, so its only natural that they might feel a little overwhelmed.
Signs that your child is feeling stressed
Children respond to stress in different ways, and the reasons behind their new behaviour may not always be clear to us adults. Some things to watch out for are:
How to help kids manage their stress
Most parents natural reaction to learning their child is experiencing stress is to try to make everything as smooth and comfortable as possible. However, according to expert Reid Wilson, PhD, it’s much better to help them manage their stress by teaching them to problem-solve, plan and know when to say yes and no to activities and commitments.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t comfort them. Children need love and support now more than ever, so giving them some extra time and attention certainly can’t hurt. It’s important to listen to their worries and to reassure them in a realistic way.
The World Health Organisation recommends that you should provide facts about what is happening in the world right now and how it happened. It’s important that they understand how the virus works and how they can reduce their risk of infection that is appropriate for their age. This includes informing them about what might happen if a family member catches covid, such as going into hospital.
Life is so structured at the moment with all of these new rules and regulations and it seems that all anyone is talking about is the coronavirus – at home, at school, on the tv and the radio. This is something people of all ages can find overwhelming. Kids need some downtime to give their brains and bodies rest and just do whatever they want to do, which is why structuring their play isn’t the answer. Play shouldn’t have a goal or teach a lesson, it should just be free!
Combining playtime with physical exercise is always a good idea too as exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy.
Sleep is the key to everything! It minimizes stress, boosts productivity and energy levels. We all know what it’s like to have a breakdown purely because we’re exhausted. Giving your child a bedtime is important to make sure they get to sleep, as they often won’t want to even if they’re tired.
Keeping electronics such as TVs, phones, tablets etc out of their bedroom is also a good tip to make them sleep.
You’d be surprised how much of your behaviour gets imprinted upon your children. They’re like sponges, soaking up energy and learning behaviours from you. If you’re stressed your child will sense this and become stressed too.
Managing your own stress is important for you and for your little ones. They need to see your relax and effectively deal with anything causing you to act stress. After all, you cant live a stressful life yourself whilst teaching stress management.
Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand how your child might be feeling and how to help them cope with things. The coronavirus has brought about a situation that is new and confusing for all of us and we are all learning how best to deal with it. As long as you’re providing a loving and supporting environment you’re doing the right thing.
If you’re worried about the amount of stress your child is feeling or they’re displaying extreme symptoms then reach out to a professional for help.