Childhood is that happy, carefree, time of life, with never a fear and never a tear, right? In a word wrong! Childhood can be an incredibly stressful time for many, and for reasons that adults may least expect.
Stress in children can take many forms and can occur due to a variety of different reasons â€“ there are academic pressures, peer pressure and the need to conform, dealing with bullying and bullies, parental expectations, relationship issues â€“ which are just some of the issues in a child’s life that can cause stress.
It is important for children to learn to manage stress with tool that will effectually help them keep it under control. Many of the same stress reduction techniques that work for adults can also help kids â€“
This is suitable for children of all ages and adults as well, being a physical and tactile outlet for stress and negativity.
Play dough or modeling clay can be a useful way for a child to channel his or her energies and negative emotions â€“ manipulating, pounding and squeezing the malleable material may help a child feel more in control.
Playing with water and finger painting are two more activities that offer this sort of sensory relaxation and hence help control stress.
This may be more appropriate for older children since it involves tensing and relaxing of muscles all over the body. Starting with the lower legs and then going to the upper muscles, hips, arms, stomach, shoulders, and so on, first tighten the muscles and then deliberately relax them.
This may not be possible or even appropriate for younger children, but adolescents and older children can try this technique of progressive relaxation to lessen stress.
A parent can participate in physical activity with their child, such as going for a walk or bike ride or tossing a ball in the yard, or they may inculcate the habit of activity in their child â€“ this is in the interest of the childâ€™s physical health and wellbeing as well as their mental health. Regular exercise is a known stress buster, but if a child has had a particularly stressful day then make it a point to enjoy some fun activity as a family; an effective stress buster.
Encourage the child to record their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and anything or anybody that is causing him/her stress. Pick out an appropriate journal or diary for this, or just use a regular notebook and as soon as your child is old enough and literate enough, this can be their antidote to stress, a place of release for their stress. Younger children can be encouraged to similarly express themselves through drawing, rudimentary though it may be.
Get a child involved in an activity
Be it learning a new skill, getting involved in music, becoming a collector of something, learning and participating in a sport or any kind of artistic pursuit – getting into a regular hobby can be a great stress buster. This can give a child a new interest and the opportunity to pick up a new and valuable skill.