Children and Stress
Children ages 4 – 9 years old have everyday stresses:
- they may feel pressure at school
- be affected by their parents’ disagreements
- have conflicts themselves with their parents
- be expected to achieve academically
- have difficulty with other children the same age
- feel rivalry with brothers and sisters
Stress can change how children feel and act. This may show up as headaches, tummy aches, or changed behaviour, appetite, or sleeping patterns.
Tips to help children deal with stress
Following are some helpful tips:
- Stop, look and listen to your children. A child develops trust through positive experience with their parents.
- Give your child opportunities to talk about their every day stresses. Allow your child to talk about how they might solve their problems.
- Teach your child words to describe emotions. Use words such as “I feel angry” or “I am sad when this happens”, or “I’m afraid”. Problems have feelings attached and children who can talk about their feelings can solve their problems better.
- Watch for changes in your child’s behaviour. Stress can show up as headaches, tummy aches or changes in your child’s appetite or sleeping patterns.
- Create a home that is less stressful. Children need guidance to manage their time such as, time for homework, getting organized for the next day and enough sleep. Children need regular fun physical activity and nutritious meals and snacks.
- Be a good role model for healthy ways you manage your stress. Children learn a lot from their parents.
- Teach your children how to manage uncomfortable feelings better. Stretching, visualization, quiet time and physical or creative activity can help to reduce stress.
- Help your child to listen to their inner ‘good buddy voice’. A ‘good buddy voice’ is your child’s thoughts telling them they are a good. Children respond beter to problems when they have confidence in themselves.