The current events of the world can create feelings of stress for many children. That, paired with the recent history of isolation and a loss of support systems, such as in-person school, has resulted in all kids feeling an increased sense of stress in their lives. Helping kids deal with the stressors of uncertainty will help them be more successful in managing challenging times ahead.
Big Life Journal has some helpful resources to help kids deal with stress, including printable guides and worksheets. Some ideas for helping kids deal with stress include:
- Re-frame stress–Stress can lead to growth if children understand that stressful situations will not last forever. These situations represent challenges to overcome and lessons to learn. Seek to understand your child’s stress rather than dismiss it
- Shift from a fixed to a growth mindset–it’s not fixed, it can be improved, and you do have the power to influence the situation.
- Stop catastrophic thinking–do not dismiss their worry. Their concerns are very real to them and there have been a lot of reasons to worry recently. But help them put words to their fears and focus on what they can control
- Practice Problem solving–listen, discuss the positives and negatives of a situation, brainstorm solutions
- Try stress management techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, or yoga exercises for kids.
Although many kids may experience stress, there are also many kids experiencing a higher level of mental health issues. On May 7th we can observe Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The purpose of this awareness day is to increase public awareness about the needs of children with serious mental illness, provide information on evidence-based practices, and encourage those who need help to seek treatment.
According to the World Health Organization:
- One in six U.S. children ages 6-17 has a treatable mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety problems or ADHD.
- Half of all mental health conditions start at 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated.
- The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.
It is important to have conversations with your children, to recognize when their mental health issues are more than just expected stress responses, and to get them help. Early intervention can have positive results that benefit them for the rest of their life. Therapy can have a significant impact on a child. And more severe issues can be addressed through a consult with your mental health provider as well as a doctor or psychiatrist if needed. Teaching our kids that it is okay to not be okay sometimes, is an important first step in them feeling like they can ask for help when they are struggling. Taking care of a child’s mental health is as important as their physical health. We can create a safe space for our children, so they can feel good about themselves.
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