6 Tips to help your child stay stress-free
As parents, we face lots of stress in our daily lives – maybe it’s a particularly difficult time at work, or there’s big changes happening at home that need your utmost attention. Fortunately, we’re old and experienced enough to know our limits and what to do to help us manage that stress by ourselves.
However, we tend to forget that our children can and do experience stress as well. The things that they’re concerned about might not seem as important to us, but we shouldn’t discount their feelings all the same.
Stress in a child can be worrisome. It affects their mood, turning their cheerful and lively selves into tired, irritable and sad versions. If left unchecked, it may result in even worse consequences that affect their overall health and wellbeing.
It’s therefore important to pay attention to your child’s emotions and help address their problems if and when they crop up. But even if it’s an issue that only they can resolve by themselves (such as preparing for exams and scoring well in them), there’s always something you can do to help take their mind off their troubles and help them relax.
Here’s a few things you can do with your child to destress:
#1: Let them have their fun. One of the most reliable ways to relieve stress in a child is to let them do the things they enjoy. Maybe it’s a sport that they’re great at, a trip to the cinema, or just video games in general. Set aside some time for them and allow them to amuse themselves uninterrupted. They’ll appreciate the chance to cool off on their own without any disturbances.
#2: Go outdoors. Going out of the house and away from school, for a walk or a drive, or even a brief holiday can change anybody’s mood, including children. Think about their favourite places to visit and see if you can bring them back there again, or ask them if there’s somewhere new they would like to go next.
#3: Help them get more uninterrupted sleep. Lack of proper sleep can cause a child to be stressed and irritable. Ensuring they get a good night’s sleep can help them deal with the day’s exhaustion and anxieties and allow their minds to slow down and relax.
There also exists a phenomenon called ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’, in which the affected person would deliberately stay up even when tired solely because they crave the peace and quiet that they can only get in the middle of the night. If your child is going to bed at very late hours, try talking to them about it and find a way to help them readjust to a better sleep timing while attending to their need for relaxation.
#4: Allow them time with friends. If your child expresses the wish to spend time with their friends, it’s worth taking into serious consideration. Not only is it a definite mood booster, it may also help a great deal in getting them comfortable with social situations in future. With that said, you’ll want to ensure that they’re kept safe and sound, which means getting them to promise to remain in touch and exercise caution whenever necessary.
#5: Lend a helping hand. No matter how much we want them to clean up after themselves or be as self-sufficient as possible, there will be times that they are too tired to do so. Maybe their room is getting a little too messy for your liking, or they’re not drinking enough water and are too busy to get up for a refill. Instead of nagging them to do it themselves, it’s OK to lend a hand for a quick tidy-up or presenting them with a new glass of water, just to make them feel loved and cared for.
#6: Consider counselling and mentorship. Sometimes, stress can be due to major reasons such as past trauma, or the loss of a loved one. In such cases, it’s a good idea to seek professional help such as a counsellor or child specialist for a better understanding of how to address your child’s stressors.
Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help our children relieve their mental load when they’re facing a particularly tough time. By implementing these and other stress-reducing strategies, you will be ensuring that your child will get ample opportunities to learn how to manage stress effectively as they come of age.