Avoiding Child Stress: Making Back-to-School Easier for the Whole Family

From our September newsletter:

It’s that time of year again! Summer is over and school is back in session. This is an exciting time, but so many changes can also bring new stressors for your child.

child stress

The idea of child stress sounds like a contradiction. Children do not have to think of the economy, pay the credit card bills or keep the gas tank full. Adults often dream of the chance to be a kid again, where things are “simpler.” However, children do experience stress.

Here are some facts on child stress and tips for what you can do as a parent to alleviate it.

1. Child stress is real. While getting rebuffed by a peer at recess may seem trivial in the grand scheme of life’s catastrophes, the child’s experience of this event is real and can be taxing. Talk to your child and acknowledge their stressors. Ensure your child has some downtime around the house when there are no chores, lessons or demands.

2. Their stress doesn’t affect you, but your stress affects them. Normal daily stressors for your child are not likely to weigh on you. However, children pick up on the stressors of their parents. If you are worried about money, marital problems, or your job, it is  very likely that your child will sense it, even if they cannot verbalize it.

3. Stress is not purely psychological. Stress that continues for an extended period of time directly affects one’s immune system, making children and adults more likely to get ill. For example, individuals enduring high stress are much more likely to contract serious diseases later in life such as cancer, heart disease, or chronic respiratory disease.

What can you do?

Routines that bring stability to home life can reduce stress. Go to the store together, play a game, or eat a meal together. These activities are not necessarily about fun (although fun is great), and they’re not about spending money. Family activities, assuming they are not riddled with conflict, are all beneficial. They are an investment in physical health and are “psychological nutrients” for a sound immune system.

For more information: http://www.slate.com/id/2262309/

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