Tips to Reduce Stress Among School-Aged Children

Being a kid is often viewed as a time of constant learning, playing, and growing curiosity. It’s when they learn to make friends, learn to read, their multiplication tables, what hobbies and sports they enjoy playing, and even contemplate college as they get older.  While fun, it is underestimated the amount of stress that kids experience. In fact, the American Psychological Association reported that not only are teens surveyed as having higher stress levels than what psychologists believe healthy but that those levels are higher than what adults are reporting for themselves.

Besides the fact that some amounts of stress can be beneficial and positive for kids, too much stress can end up harming your child’s academic performance and behavior. We have provided some tips on how to help your school-aged child reduce, or cope, with stress – continue reading below!
 
Help Them Understand Emotions

As a child gets older and starts experiencing different scenarios, they may end up feeling something new for the first time. Without knowing what this emotion is, it can create feelings of uncomfortableness and even anxiety for a child. When you help your child learn the labels of emotions, and how to recognize what they feel like, this allows them the comfort of being able to express how they feel. There are many kid-friendly books about this, or even posters with images to help convey each emotion available as helpful resources for your child if you feel like discussing them isn’t thorough enough.
If you aren’t sure of what to look for, keep an eye out for some of the most common symptoms of stress in children, including headaches, stomachaches, difficulty sleeping or nightmares, mood swings or unusual acts of rebellion, and sudden changes in academic performance or eating patterns.
 
Try Different Coping Skills – See What Works

Chances are that not every coping skill will work the same or as efficiently for every child, and each scenario they find themselves in may require a different coping mechanism. Plus, the more methods in their wheelhouse, the quicker they will most likely be able to squash their stressors.
Some things to try are:

  • Get active – Start with doing jumping jacks, going for a bike ride, and taking a walk. It is recommended that children ages six to 17 get at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity.
  • Segment Time for Recharging – Finding a balance between free time and fun can be challenging. While it is important to participate in extracurricular activities, some children may need more downtime than others to relax. This can be done by creating artwork, reading a book, or listening to music.
  • Encourage Positive Self-Talk – Helping your child shift their mindset to a positive one will help them have lifelong benefits from this. Stress often brings about negative thoughts, normally aimed at themselves. Help your child find the silver lining in every situation, tell them to think of something they are thankful for or a positive memory, and practice saying affirmations in the mirror, like “I am smart,” or “I can do anything I put my mind to.”
 
Lead by Example

“Monkey see, monkey do” is a saying for a reason! Children watch their parents from a very young age and often pick up on behaviors and habits that you do. If they see you practicing healthy coping skills, especially daily, they are more likely to do the same. By including stress management into your daily life as a parent and with your child, this will become a great healthy habit that can benefit them for the trials and tribulations they may experience even as they become adults. The next time you are trying to help your child in a stressful situation, join them in trying out their methods, and even tell them your personal experiences with similar situations where you deem fit.
 
Pediatrics in Brevard believes in building your child’s resilience, as it can be a key factor in setting them up for success in leading a happy and healthy life. The mission of Pediatrics in Brevard is to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. If you are looking for a pediatrician in the Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Viera, or Rockledge area, contact Pediatrics in Brevard today to set up your first appointment.