Adults have busy, often stressful lives, and we can overlook that our children experience stress and anxiety too. Common stressful situations for kids include starting a new school, being overwhelmed by homework, feeling pressure to succeed in extracurriculars, experiencing trouble in their social circles, changes in routine, and facing challenges at home.
To promote healthy responses to stressful situations, here are five helpful actions to alleviate stress in children.
Maintain a Routine
Maintaining a consistent, healthy routine is vital for children to experience a sense of normalcy and rhythm in their lives.
Ensure that your kids are getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet at regular intervals, and having scheduled downtime. While the phrase “the best way to keep a kid out of trouble is to keep them busy” holds some truth, it is important not to overwhelm your kids with endless activities. You want to make sure to schedule downtime each day for them to decompress away from expectations.
Reinforce that Imperfection is Okay
Speaking of expectations, kids face them every day. Parents, teachers, coaches, and classmates push them to try to be the best they can be.
Even though adults have good intentions when teaching kids to strive to do the best they can, children can internalize this message in a way that makes them feel they came up short in one way or another. This can cause stress, as they may feel as though they have let someone, and/or themselves, down.
This sentiment can snowball, which is why it is critical to have them understand that it is okay to be imperfect. Keep an open dialogue with your kids and explain that life is full of successes and failures, and how they handle those events is what matters most. Emphasize that even when we make a mistake, it’s a great opportunity to learn and grow.
In addition, be sure to lead by example. Let your children see your successes and failures, and how you handle things when they go wrong. They will learn by watching and adopting your healthy coping methods.
Children sometimes feel as though they can’t speak openly to their parents or other important adults in their life about their feelings and/or stressful situations in their lives. Encourage your children to talk to you about what’s happening in their lives and the emotions that go along with them.
Make these conversations a ‘non-judgment zone’ and simply listen to what they have to say. Next, you can help them name their feelings (such as loneliness, sadness, anger, grief, etc.) and help them navigate through in healthy ways. This builds up a habit of feeling safe and comfortable expressing themselves to you, no matter what.
Problem Solve Together
You can’t always solve your kids’ problems for them, but you can always help guide them.
Once you have listened to their troubles and validated their feelings, help them problem solve. Encourage them to develop a variety of solutions and analyze what method is the best to solve the situation. As you help them, remember to stay positive by focusing on the good parts, not dwelling on the negatives, and to remain calm (even when it hurts to hear your child suffering). By helping them create a plan of action, they can adequately cope with their stressful situation in a positive manner.
This also helps build healthy decision-making skills and resilience which are invaluable at all stages of life.
Teach Calming Strategies
Expressing emotions and problem-solving are excellent courses of action, but there will be times when your children must handle their stress on their own. You can teach them calming strategies to help them process their emotions and react calmly. Methods could include deep breathing, using imagery, exercise, or whatever you find works for them (which isn’t necessarily what works for you).
Stress in Kids and Wellness
We all know that when we are stressed it adversely affects our health. It is no different for kids.
Stress impacts virtually every vital function in the body and can put kids at risk for serious medical conditions.
One potential sign of stress in kids is irregular bowel movements and/or constipation. Sometimes stress is caused by a change in routine, which in turn can throw off their regular pooping schedule. Other times, the stress itself causes them to withhold stool and may also impact their diet in negative ways.
Adequate hydration, good sleep hygiene, exercise, and a balanced diet with plenty of fiber are essential for bowel regularity and also help reduce stress levels.
DocuSol® Kids Can Help!
Sometimes a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and hydration aren’t quite enough to get stool moving again.
DocuSol® Kids is a first-of-its-kind, mini enema with a non-irritating formula that functions as a stool-softening hyperosmotic laxative by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues, replicating a normal bowel movement. This unique formulation provides children ages 2–12 fast, predictable relief of constipation, typically within 2 – 15 minutes.
DocuSol® Kids was designed for easy use at home. The DocuSol® Kids tube is designed to offer a minimally invasive, soft, and flexible tip, avoiding any scratching or irritation to the skin.
The material contained is for reference purposes only. Alliance Labs, LLC, and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2020 Summit Pharmaceuticals and Alliance Labs, LLC.