It is not only adults who experience stress. Children can also experience stress. We all know stress is not good for us physically or mentally. Stress can lower one’s resistance to infections and can put one at risk for developing gastric ulcers.
For children, stress can be experienced in school or from peers. Difficult tasks, fear and anxiety from class and inability to relate with school peers are some of the stressors for children. If they are exposed to such situations for a extended period of time, it can interfere with learning and goal accomplishment.
You can incorporate relaxation strategies in your daily routine. You can start with yoga and Tai Chi. Although these relaxation techniques are mostly used for adult stress management, we can tailor the exercise regimen for children. Consult with an expert on age appropriate exercises. While doing the regimen, incorporate play as well to entice and encourage the child. Example, you can instruct a child to do a relaxation pose similar to that of a wriggling snake. Let the child imagine and do snake like movements. We can teach proper breathing techniques by incorporating storytelling.
Exercise is essential in all age groups. Sadly, statistics show that as children become older they become less active. Prevent this one by incorporating exercise in day-to-day activities. Simple play activities such as classroom exploration, scavenger hunts, dancing to music, brisk walking and playing with siblings and other family members right in the comforts of one’s own backyard, are activities that can involve exercise.
A key to living healthy is eating healthy. Start this habit while the child is still young. Instead of chocolate bars and candies, opt for healthier choices such as fruit smoothies. There are numerous ways to prepare a child’s snack into something healthy. Start introducing your child with healthy versions of snacks, such as fruit salads and kebobs, vegetables in yogurt dips. You can even grow your own small garden where you and your child can identify fruits and veggies and pick them for a meal or a snack. Instill a sense of health in children by taking them to farmer’s markets where they can learn about different vegetables and their health benefits.
Please, do not forget to support the child mentally and emotionally. This can only be done through effective communication. Communication can be done in almost any activity possible, you can simply invite the child to prepare food, and take this time to talk about the day’s activities and plans. Let the child help with household chores, limit the time spent on watching TV and playing video games, go outdoors together and celebrate birthdays as a family. These open communication lines and are great venues for developing self-confidence and emotional stability.