Did you know studies reveal that children today are more stressed out than ever before? In a world of convenience, relative peace, and insurmountable technology that makes life easier, these kids are more worried than we ever thought of being.
Part of it’s obvious. With high speed internet and all it offers, our children are exposed to more than their predecessors. Some of it’s good and exciting, but at times they are glutted with too much information, and they just don’t know how to navigate this superhighway of enticing visual and auditory stimulation.
Add increased academic expectations at school and scary world events like a pandemic, and it’s no wonder our children life in a state of anxiety!
Combine that with a learning disability or two, and you have a real pressure cooker!
It doesn’t have to be this way!
Children and teens are perceptive, gifted, and smart. As a parent and grandparent, I’ve noticed they also grow very big ears. Adult conversations become quite interesting, and sometimes they misinterpret information. Hey, don’t we all?
There’s no way you can keep your child in a protective bubble, even if you wanted to. At some point, our darlings will venture out into the world, and we want to give them the best tools possible to deal with life’s stressful situations.
Following are some tips to help you help your child navigate some of life’s stressors.
1. Don’t assume that kids can’t understand deep or difficult concepts. Often, they comprehend only parts of what they hear and need the whole story to make sense of what is going on. That doesn’t mean they need every gory detail, but the whole picture often puts kids at ease.
2. Limit internet and screen time. Kids spend an average of eight to nine hours a day in front of a screen of one sort or another. This isn’t only bad for their physical health but their mental health as well! A large part of their life is spent in fantasy, not reality. So much of what they see online is fake, photoshopped or staged, and this makes kids feel innately “less” instead of “more”.
3. Make sure electronics are turned off at least an hour before bedtime so your child can get adequate rest.
4. Provide plenty of exercise and outdoor time. Kids naturally want to move, and by running, jumping, swimming, and playing, they ward off a host of worries and stress. In addition, when kids move, their brains develop, which is crucial for learning success.
5. Make sure expectations are realistic. For instance, if your child has a learning disability, then getting straight A’s might not be in the mix. If your child is awkward and clumsy (like me), then being a sports star isn’t realistic.
6. Make sure that praise is honest and specific. Kids today have been raised with participation ribbons where they don’t even know if they did or didn’t do something worthwhile, and that only leads to a sense of futility. Kids learn through mistakes and they want to please their parents more than anyone in the world. So if you tell these kids what they specifically did or didn’t do right, give them honest and specific praise when its due, then they will understand what they did right and keep doing it!