Stressed may indeed be dessert spelled backwards, but it’s anything but sweet. It’s just the opposite — it’s sour. Or is that bitter? Whichever one, as my friend would say, “Stress can go suck a bag of ducks.” This handy new catch phrase was born from an Autocorrect. I have no idea what it means, but I try to use it at least once a day because it makes me laugh. And laughter is the best stress reliever, right?
I have a tendency to let stress build, but I’m working hard to learn how to manage it successfully and I’ve written about the steps I’m taking to kick my Worry Wart Ways.
Lately I’ve seen burgeoning signs of stress/anxiety/worry in my eldest child. Nothing terribly alarming, but significant enough to pay attention.
“Fifty per cent of adults diagnosed with mental illness reveal its start before the age of fourteen. It is imperative for parents, caregivers as well as teachers to recognize stress in early stages and support the child affected.”
My son seems to worry like his mother. Is this something for me to worry about? (I am aware of the irony here.) Perhaps it’s merely a phase. Either way, we’re being proactive by arming him with the tools he’ll need to deal with both every day stressors and the more stressful moments we all face at some point in life. Having these skills early on may help him avoid years of unnecessary worry and stress in the future.
A starting point for me was this article called “Stress Busters for Children” written by CHILDVENTURES.
STRESS BUSTERS FOR CHILDREN
POSITIVE & NEGATIVE EVENTS — Both negative and positive events can be the source of stress in a child. Family events are often categorized as negative stressors, such as single parenthood, chronic family conflict, loss of a job, or the death of a family member. Positive events such as planning their own birthday party or slumber party to caring for a new pet can also result in stress.
Sudden changes in behaviour should not go unnoticed. Withdrawal and nervousness or anger and attention seeking are common signs of stress, while some children are resilient and do not show any direct signs. Stress developed early in a child can result in long term repercussions such as health problems, self-harm, alcohol and substance use, legal infractions and long term mental illnesses.
BRAIN GYM & YOGA TECHNIQUES – Childventures, a network of leading childcare centres for preschool and daycare, incorporates a number of brain gym and yoga techniques into their curriculum to educate as well as show children appropriate ways of managing stress and anxieties. Specific activities stimulate the brain by incorporating entire body movements, exercises and processes.
STRESS AWARENESS: BRAIN GYM/YOGA TECHNIQUES — Specific brain boosting activities integrated into everyday practices can reduce potential stresses and keep kids calm and concentrated. These techniques help children to stay focused, be positive and assertive, set goals, boost self-esteem and help deal with disappointment. A variety of exercises prior to a lesson or activity supplies freshly oxygenated blood to the brain as well as improves the flow and enhances concentration skills.
Other simple activities to reduce levels of stress include:
Hydrate – Drinking lots of water can help keep a child healthy. With the brain estimated to comprise of 90% water, it is important to keep hydrated as we tend to perspire under stress, resulting in negative effects on a child’s level of concentration.
Reading Stories – A study completed at the University of Sussex indicated that reading can reduce stress levels by 68%. Parents are encouraged to read to their child twice a week to help overcome perceived effects of stress.
Cuddles– Arecent study conducted by scientists at the University of Vienna shows that regular hugging can positively benefit health by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and also help to reduce stress.