Demands are placed on us every day by jobs, family, friends or school. How we cope with these daily demands — or don’t cope — is stress. We can also experience stress from the demands we place on ourselves and what we think we should be accomplishing versus how we are actually performing. Everyone can feel stressed, or overwhelmed with life, even our kids.
Very young students may feel stress as they become accustomed to separation from mom and dad during the school day. Older children may feel the pressures from grades and peers. Others may be so busy with extracurricular activities that they don’t have time to relax. If your child is complaining about activities, consider reducing the load or helping your child with time management.
Children can be sensitive to the worries of others around them, too. Be careful of discussing financial problems, personal illness, or other serious issues in front of kids. They may begin to worry about it, too.
Current events can also cause worry and stress. Images of war or hurricane destruction can cause a child to worry that the same might happen near his or her house. We can’t always regulate what they see and hear, but we can help youngsters understand what’s going on. Of course situations like, divorce, death, or illness, that are stressful to adults, are just as stressful to children.
According to a North Dakota University checklist, stress can cause physical symptoms in your child like teeth grinding, dizziness, headaches, heartburn, or dry mouth. We can help our kids cope with stress by talking about what may be causing it or encouraging them to journal about their feelings.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention encourages kids to eat right, get enough sleep and exercise, and spend time talking with a trusted adult. Simply taking time to kick back with friends and feel good about life is important, too.
Most of the time, we can impress upon our kids that they have the ability to handle any situation. However, if your child’s stress doesn’t go away or extreme anxiety occurs that prevents your child from functioning normally at home or at school, seek help from a doctor, teacher or counselor.
Stress Basics. Mayo Clinic. Web. 5, Sept. 2100.
How am I? North Dakota State University. Web. 5, Sept. 2011.
Feeling Frazzled. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 5, Sept. 2011.
Reviewed September 6, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith