As parents, we want our children to be successful and lead happy and healthy lives. However, in today’s fast-paced world, the reality is that our children, much like adults, are susceptible to experiencing stress and anxiety due to a range of challenges.
April is Stress Awareness Month, a time to examine how we can support our children’s mental health and well-being.
According to studies, over half of children in the United States have experienced increased stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the study found that the pandemic has led to increased screen time, disrupted sleep patterns and decreased physical activity—all of which can contribute to stress and anxiety.
Our children continue to face stressors, including academic pressure, managing day-to-day responsibilities, navigating social relationships and maintaining a positive self-esteem. There are ways you as a parent can support your child through these experiences and help them manage stressful situations.
Here are six tips to help keep an eye on your child’s stress levels.
It’s important to pay close attention to your child’s behavior and mood. Eating habits, sleep patterns or social behavior changes can show your child is experiencing stress. If you notice any changes, talk to your child about their feelings and offer your support. This can help your child feel heard and understood.
Teach Relaxation Techniques
Encourage your child to practice techniques such as deep breathing, visualization and progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. It’s important to note that practicing these techniques regularly can help your child better manage their stress over time.
Promote Healthy Habits
Encourage your child to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being, and as a parent, you can lead by example and make healthy habits a family priority.
Set Realistic Expectations
Encourage your child to prioritize self-care and avoid over-scheduling themselves. Help them set realistic expectations for themselves and remind them that it’s okay to take breaks when needed. This can help reduce feelings of pressure and stress.
Encourage Open Communication
Create a safe space for your child to discuss their feelings and experiences. Encourage them to share their worries and concerns and offer support and guidance. By being an active listener and validating your child’s feelings, it can go a long way in helping them manage their stress.
Remember every child is different, and what works for one child may not work for another. Be patient and flexible as you work with your child to manage their stress.
Sarah Weatherby is a communications consultant with Sarah Weatherby Public Relations.