Today, stress is part of the lives of adults and children. In this article, we will discuss how to teach child stress management.
If it is important for adults to learn how to manage it but learning stress management for children is even more important. Like adult stress, child stress is also due to several factors. Addressing it effectively involves determining what the problem is, what may be causing that stress, and taking steps to help children feel better and more relaxed with child stress management program.
What causes stress in children?
Excessive work, haste, and overload of responsibilities can lead to stress, both in children and adults. That is obvious. However, there are many other elements that also contribute to raising stress levels, such as noise, environmental saturation (stimuli of all kinds competing to get our attention) or the light of screens (computers, mobile devices, televisions … ).
For children, who tend to be more susceptible to noise and other physical stimuli, everyday stressors can be amplified, which makes the need for silent downtime even more crucial. If we add to this the school and the extracurricular activities, the pressure to succeed, changes or family conflicts and other factors that can cause stress, we have the perfect recipe to have a stressed child.
In addition, the reduction in physical activity that children face – each time before – does not help either. Moreover, a child who does not exercise loses one of its main tools for child stress management. In this regard, it should be noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children exercise one hour a day. Reducing this time not only harms children’s physical health, but also their mental health.
Signs of child stress
Signs of stress in children can be quite subtle – in some cases also confusing – such as stomachaches, headaches or changes in behavior. You can also notice mood swings and problems sleeping, as well as difficulty concentrating in school.
In addition, if major changes occur in a child’s life, such as a move, the arrival of a new member in the family, etc., parents should pay special attention to signs of childhood stress. Even if a particular stressor cannot be identified, the child may experience stress because of something that happens in school or some other place where a certain amount of time passes.
How to teach child stress management
A child does not usually understand that what is happening to him is related to stress. You can simply feel sad, exhausted, angry or anxious. This may be new to him and he will most likely not know how to handle his emotions on his own. Hence the importance of teaching stress management to children will help them understand what stress is and what causes it and how they can handle it.
In this sense, teaching how to manage child stress management can imply the following:
- Children should know that they can talk about anything that happens to their parents (or other reference adults) with total freedom and confidence.
- Better listen attentively and actively to children before offering suggestions and advice. This attitude will make any word we add to the dialogue much more valuable.
- For many children, it is easier to talk about their problems in active situations, especially those that favor relaxation, such as non-competitive play and creative activities, a walk in the countryside, the preparation of a simple recipe, etc.
- Children should perform aerobic exercise daily, have the time of peace, quiet and silence and perform relaxed and creative activities. This, by itself, helps to release stress. However, the frenetic pace at which some children are exposed makes it difficult for them to work and even show inappropriate behavior as a way to release energy.
Yoga and mindfulness to manage stress from school
As a final comment, we gather the results of a recent study that has found that yoga and mindfulness meditation in children can help children to better child stress management. What is interesting about this study is the approach to yoga and mindfulness meditation within the school. Yoga and mindfulness have been the subject of research for a few years now.
As an example, we collect the results of a study published in the Psychology Research and Behavior Management in April 2018. The study was conducted with third-grade children in public schools in the United States.
The study concludes that the intervention was associated with a significant improvement in the emotional and psychosocial quality of life in the intervention group compared to the control group, suggesting that yoga interventions and mindfulness may improve the symptoms of anxiety among students. Yoga and mindfulness activities can facilitate child stress management among elementary school students and can be added as a complement to social and emotional learning activities.