No one likes to feel stressed out. And, as parents, we want the best for our children and support them in their struggles and triumphs as they develop and mature into adults. Because stress can manifest itself in many different ways, it’s important to know how to help your child manage stress so that it doesn’t negatively impact his or her life — socially, academically or otherwise. Here are 10 of the top ways to help your child manage stress from childhood through high school and beyond.
One of the best ways to help your child manage stress is to ensure they’re getting enough sleep. A tired child is more likely to be irritable and have a hard time concentrating, which can lead to more stress. Make sure your child is getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
As a parent, it’s important to help your child understand and manage stress. Here are 10 tips to help your child deal with stress.
Number one on our list is exercise.
3) Eat well
Children need nutritious food to grow and develop properly. When they’re stressed, their bodies use up nutrients more quickly, so it’s important to make sure they’re getting enough of the right foods. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains can help provide energy, while omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds can help improve mood and reduce inflammation. aim for a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Reduce stress in your child’s life: According to a review published in 2016, kids who have stressful home or school lives are more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression. The best way to reduce stress is through improving family dynamics at home and at school, but there are other options as well. For example, get involved in your kid’s extracurricular activities so you can help them build positive relationships with their peers. As you’re talking, listen actively and be open to hearing about concerns they may have. If you want a little advice on how you can do that effectively, check out our free guide on How to Listen Effectively.
4) Reduce sugar intake
One way to help your child manage stress is to reduce their sugar intake. Sugar can cause hyperactivity and lead to poor concentration, which can make it difficult for children to cope with stress. Limit sugary snacks and drinks, and opt for healthier alternatives like fruits and vegetables. You can also try natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar.
In addition to reducing sugar intake, you can also help your child manage stress by
Introducing regular physical activity into your child’s routine can also help manage stress. The rush of endorphins that come from exercise is natural mood enhancer, which helps alleviate feelings of anxiety or depression, and research shows that active children tend to have healthier immune systems than their sedentary peers. You may also want to consider having your child meditate, which can lower blood pressure and reduce muscle tension. Set aside some time for both you and your child each day for meditation so it becomes a habit.
(do not forget about a bibliography)
5) Avoid refined carbs and trans fats
- Refined carbs and trans fats can be detrimental to your child’s health and contribute to stress.
- Try to avoid these foods as much as possible and instead focus on healthier options.
- Encourage your child to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are packed with nutrients that can help fight stress.
- Protein-rich foods are also a great option for children dealing with stress. They help to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide energy that can last throughout the day.
- Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains are another good choice for children dealing with stress. These foods help to release serotonin, which has a calming effect on the body.
- Water is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for children who are dealing with stress.
6) Do not skip meals
- It’s important that children eat regular, nutritious meals in order to help their bodies cope with stress.
- Skipping meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop, leading to feelings of fatigue and irritability.
- Not getting enough nutrients can also weaken the immune system, making children more susceptible to illness.
- If your child is having trouble eating due to stress, try and create a calm environment at mealtimes by turning off electronics and avoiding any stressful conversation.
- Instead, focus on chatting about pleasant topics or listen to soothing music together while eating.
- You can also try and make mealtimes more fun by involving your child in meal planning and preparation.
7) Limit screen time
It’s important to limit your child’s screen time, as too much time looking at screens can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Try setting a daily limit for screen time and stick to it. Encourage your child to spend time outside, being active and engaged in the world around them. Plan family activities that everyone can enjoy and make sure to set aside some quality time each day to spend with your child, talking and listening to them.
8) Learn relaxation techniques
- Help your child identify when they are feeling stressed.
- Teach your child some basic relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Encourage your child to take breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Encourage physical activity and outdoor play as a way to reduce stress.
- Help your child develop a positive outlook by teaching them how to reframe negative thoughts.
- Model healthy coping mechanisms for stress yourself.
- Seek professional help if your child is struggling to cope with stress on their own.
9) Promote positive thinking
- Encourage your child to express their feelings. It’s important for them to know that it’s okay to feel stressed, and that they can come to you with whatever is on their mind.
- Help them identify their triggers. Once they know what sets off their stress, they can start to develop coping mechanisms.
- Teach them relaxation techniques. Breathing exercises, visualization, and meditation can all be helpful in managing stress.
- Get them moving. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, and it doesn’t have to be strenuous – even a simple walk around the block can help.
- Encourage healthy habits.
10) Get more sleep
It’s no secret that sleep is important for our overall health and well-being. But did you know that getting enough sleep is also crucial for managing stress? When we’re tired, our bodies are less able to cope with the physical and emotional demands of daily life. This can lead to increased anxiety and irritability.