“Stress in Children”
A Look at Certain Causes of Childhood Stress
It can be very easy for parents to overlook the fact that their children can get stressed just as easily as the adults around them do. This stress manifests itself in a great many ways, and can be very difficult for parents to deal with. Part of this depends on the outlook of the child and the underlying relationship they have with the adults near them, but it is important to be able to notice the early warning signs of stress in children and to react appropriately to them.
One of the greatest causes of stress in children is simple lack of sleep. A child should be getting about twelve hours a night. As a general rule, children in America get about eight. That's a huge lack of sleep. Think of the last time you were tired without really realizing it. Did you deal with everyday hiccups well? There is no reason to expect that children should deal with tiredness any better.
Situations which seem almost routine to adults can be very stressful to a child. For example, one of the most stressful parts of the day in my household - before I started putting some of the techniques which will be mentioned later into practice - was getting up and ready for the day. I found this to be a mildly stressful time, but it was only when I realized exactly how much stress it put onto my child that I started to seriously look for solutions.
Look at your morning routine from an outsiders perspective for a moment. You want it to work like the well-oiled machine you have in your mind (I certainly did!) but how often does it? Not very, right? This is probably down to a breakdown in communication. If you give children step-based instructions, they understand what needs to be done more easily.
As a bigger example of causes of childhood stress, the anxiety which can be caused by starting school or moving to a new school can be huge for a child. Starting in a new situation is stressful for anyone, and that is as true for a child as it is for an adult. In some ways, dealing with their stress in this sort of situation is far more challenging, because we can't be there in the school with them to help them to deal with any of the problems that they are worried about.
Again, one of the greatest tools a parent has in their arsenal when it comes to dealing with any type of stressful situation which affects their child is to communicate with them. Taking the time to discuss their worries with your child can be a godsend. In these discussions, I have found that offering simple fear-control techniques works wonders. Encouraging your child to step back and take a few deep breaths can help immensely. If the issues go deeper than that, having a quiet word with the teacher can give you an ally within the classroom itself. This will ensure that your child isn't put into situations they struggle to deal with without having some support available.
Putting a few simple stress busting techniques into your child's mind will certainly help them to cope better with stress as they grow, and will help them to adapt to new and
varied situations throughout their lives. I would strongly encourage any parent to look into these techniques in much greater depth than is covered in this post, as they will make their relationships with their children much stronger.