5 Ways to Help Kids Manage Stress
Don't let daily stressors weigh your kids down. Mighty Mommy has five tips to help your kids manage their stress levels.
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Now that Spring is in the air, I’m noticing two things happening in our family. My kids are definitely enjoying more outdoor activities including their organized sports and being part of their school teams, but they’re also starting to show more signs of stress because the end-of-school year is closing in on them. They know they have to accomplish a lot of projects, reports, community-service hours, and school-related tasks—all while keeping up with practices, games, regular homework, and home and family obligations.
Some kids handle this type of pressure better than others, but many become overwhelmed and just can’t cope. Ironically, it’s not just our kids that are trying to balance everything without having a meltdown; the same is true for us parents. We’re trying to juggle work, pay bills, keep the house running smoothly, on top of caring for our families. When this happens, not only are our kids struggling to keep their lives in order, they feed off of us when we are stressed out too.
Mighty Mommy has had similar scenarios in her family too, but found that when you tune in to these tense times and address them you can help your kids manage their stress levels and have a healthy outlook on life. Here are five tips to help your kids alleviate stress in their daily lives.
Tip #1: Keep the Lines of Communication Open
If you notice that your child is looking more worried or stressed than usual, ask her what's on her mind. Having regular conversations can help a family work together to better understand and address any stressors children are experiencing. Low levels of parental communication have been associated with poor decision making among children and teens. A study in the National Institute of Health states that effective parenting practices play a critical role in preventing and reducing youth problem behaviors. In particular, parents who stay informed about their child's activities, attend to their child's behavior, and structure their child's environment have children with better outcomes. So this only reinforces that staying connected and continually talking to your children and promoting open communication and problem solving can be a key component in helping them manage their stress before it catapults into something more serious.
Tip #2: Create a Healthy Living Environment
Your home and work space can definitely influence your behaviors and how you react to both the happy and stressful situations in your life. If your home is filled with chaos and clutter it only adds to the anxiety that your kids may be feeling when they are already under pressure to complete homework, and stay on top of their school and work deadlines. However, if you have an orderly, neat living environment that your family can call home, it can help alleviate stress. Elizabeth Scott, MS, Stress Management Expert, states that the most obvious toll that clutter takes is added stress on one's life and recommends looking around your home and even your car and ask yourself: Does this space feel clear and relaxing? Cleaning up your home space for the family is something you and your children can work on together and it teaches children to focus on those things they can control when feeling stressed. Scott believes that being in a space characterized by order, tranquility, and a physical manifestation of your tastes can soothe you and help release stress. By devoting even small time chunks on a regular basis to get your house in order, both you and your family will reap the benefits of an organized, well-ordered space in which to function. See also: 10 Ways to Become a More Organized Parent