Relaxation is something we all search for, yet we don’t always find time for it. Life can be stressful and fast-paced, and it’s often difficult to find time to let our bodies and minds relax. Sometimes even when we’re “relaxing” we’re thinking about what’s next on the to-do list!
Adults stress tend to stress about grown-up things like the responsibilities of maintaining a family, paying the bills, and so on. But children experience stress too. They may not be able to express it, but here are some behaviors that could be signs of stress:
- > mood changes
- > changes in sleep patterns or nightmares
- > exhibiting behaviors of a younger age (thumb sucking, bedwetting, clinging, etc.)
- > no appetite or wanting to eat all the time
- > needing to go to the bathroom frequently
- > nail biting
- > engaging in disruptive behavior
If you notice some sudden changes in your child’s behavior, stress could be a factor.
You may ask what on earth could they be stressed about? After all, they don’t have any bills to pay! Children tend to experience stress in new situations, when changes happen, or when they are confronted with challenges that require new skills. These might include learning to play with a new toy, learning to share with a sibling, making new friends, completing a project, and so on.
But don’t get stress yourself! Parents and caregivers can model and teach children ways to manage stress. Here are a few suggestions:
- > keep a consistent routine
- > make sure the child is getting enough sleep
- > if the source of stress can be removed, simply remove it
- > laugh, joke, sing, dance
- > set aside some quiet time
- > do something active to relieve stress, like jumping, running, or playing
- > do a creative, calming activity like coloring
These activities will help your child learn to manage stress and deal with challenging situations. (Of course, if a behavior persists or becomes a serious issue, you may need to consult your physician.)
The goal is simple: make your kids feel good. When they feel good, you feel good!
What other activities can we do with our children to help them manage stress? Post an idea in the comments area below.
Special thanks to Kindermusik educator Vanessa Cabrera for sharing this post from her Language, Music & More blog. Information about Vanessa’s Maryland Kindermusik program can be found at her blog.