7 Tips For Managing Your Child’s Stress

Mental Health
March 27, 2021
3 min read

Stress is defined as the body’s reaction to change, expressed through physical, emotional and intellectual responses. Stress can be induced by both positive and negative experiences or thoughts. In positive situations, one’s stress may make them feel alert, motivated and prepared to protect themselves. In negative situations, one may feel like they are unable to relax or find relief from the stressful feeling. They will begin to feel overwhelmed and can develop a condition called distress. When your child is experiencing stress, they may need your support and guidance to manage these natural responses. If your child’s stress is becoming a constant in their life, consider talking with a doctor about potential anxiety disorders.

Common Stressors

Things that seem minuscule to adults can feel like the end of the world for kids. There could be constant stressors in their life that may be affecting them on a daily basis. Your child could become stressed every time they are away from home or you. They may also feel stressed with schoolwork and their ability to succeed academically. With virtual learning, they could be feeling even more lost or unmotivated to challenge themselves. Another common stressor kids and teens experience daily is the social pressure to ‘fit in’. With social media, it is very easy to see what everyone else is up to and feel the need to compare lives. They may feel stressed that they will lose friends, be bullied or become lonely if they do not meet these social expectations.

Other stressors in your child’s life may be more situational. Believe it or not, your stress could be rubbing off on your child. If they overhear you talking about issues at work, arguing in the home or worrying about the health of family/friends, they may begin to pick up on this tension and feel overwhelmed. The death of loved ones and divorce or separation of parents can cause significant stress for your child even if it seems as if the situation was handled in the best way. It can be stressful for your child to be constantly thinking about these types of things without knowing the full context or understanding the scope of adult problems. With internet access, they are seeing news about different things happening around the world. This overload of sometimes negative information can cause anyone to stress, but especially children who are already worried about the safety and wellbeing of themselves and the people they love.

You know your child better than anyone and will likely notice shifts in their behavior signifying that they are stressed. Some of these signs include mood swings, acting out, feeling sick, repeatedly lying, bullying behavior, changes in their sleep pattern and changes in appetite.

So how can you encourage mental wellness and aid your child in handling these stressors and symptoms?

Stress Management Tips

Handling stress looks different for everyone. The practices that work best to relieve your stress may or may not work for your child. This process will require some trial and error but the benefits will make for a more positive and stress-free life for your child. Here are some things that could relieve your child’s stress and help manage their physical and emotional symptoms.

  1. Getting enough sleep. It is recommended that children ages 6-13 get 9-11 hours each night.
  2. Having a balanced diet. This includes whole grains, a source of protein, vegetables, fruits and plenty of water.
  3. Spending quality time. Prioritize some one-on-one time with your child. This could include playing games, going out to eat together, doing outdoor activities, taking advantage of car rides or binging your favorite show together.
  4. Initiating open conversation. Talk about how you have noticed they are stressed and figure out what is going on in their life that could be causing it. Once you know the types of situations that cause them stress, find alternatives. If these situations are unavoidable, take the time to talk with your child about them ahead of time so that they can mentally prepare.
  5. Listening and being patient. You will not always have the answer to all of their problems. But, listening to what they have to say could help them relieve some of the pressures they are feeling.
  6. Validating their feelings. Reassure them that it is okay to feel this way. These emotions are a normal part of life and do not need to be permanent.
  7. Finding time to relax. Kids can feel stressed when they are not finding the time to relieve themselves from daily responsibilities. Encourage simple activities like watching their favorite movie, reading a book or listening to music to give them time for themselves.

Practicing these different forms of self-care with your child will teach them that there are healthy ways to cope with stress. Stay committed to making time to talk with them even if there is nothing to talk about. Your child will feel more comfortable opening up to you when they need to and you will feel more confident in your parenting.

Technology changed kids. Aqua One will change parenting.

Receive exclusive Aqua One updates along with insight and resources from Cyber Dive's in-house clinical child psychologist.
Success! Welcome to the future of modern parenting.
Something went wrong. Please try again.