Many, if not most of our children's problems come from their inability to deal with stress in a healthy way. But a child is unlikely to know when he or she is overstressed and it's up to the parents to watch for tell-tale signs which may include: difficulties with sleep, health, mood and learning.
Physical symptoms of stress or anxiety in children may include: recurring headaches, stomach pain and nausea, sleep disturbances, nightmares, bedwetting, decreased appetite and stuttering.
Emotional symptoms of stress or anxiety in children may include: moodiness, difficulty with concentration (spaciness), scary thoughts, a tendency to worry a lot, low self-esteem, restlessness, clinging, aggression, stubbornness, not wanting to participate in family or school activities, being easily upset: crying, whining or excessive anger.
If parents suspect that their child is over-stressed or anxious, they would be wise to simplify their child's life by cutting back on extracurricular activities and creating a home environment that is a sanctuary from the outside world. Each child is unique and even in the same family the number of activities that could be overwhelming for one child, might be quite comfortable for another.
However, it's never possible to eliminate stress completely and we cannot (and should not) protect our children from every difficult experience. We can though, help our children to recognize and face their anxious feelings and react to them in a healthy way.
Ways to help kids de-stress
Teach them to relax
Teach them to be active
Teach them to turn it off
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