THE AGE OF STRESS Helping Your Child Overcome Anxiety
It’s hard to imagine kids as anything but carefree, happy, and eager to explore the world around them. However, children experience stress just like adults do, which can severely impact their typically cheerful dispositions. Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, now is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with tools and information that can help you alleviate your child’s stress. What are their stressors? Any number of everyday factors can lead to stress, and stress can plague anyone who feels overwhelmed. Toddlers and young children going to day care or school for the first time may experience separation anxiety due to being apart from their parents. Older kids and teenagers may feel mounting social and academic pressure. Even something as simple as overhearing loved ones arguing or seeing a sad news report can add to a child’s stress levels. How do I know if my child is stressed? When a kid is stressed, they will exhibit odd behavior and even undergo physical changes. Depending on your child’s age, watch for mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, trouble focusing, or withdrawal
from the people around them. According to KidsHealth.org, younger childrenmay also pick up habits like twirling their hair or sucking their thumb, while older kids may start to bully others, lie, or rebel. Can I help reduce their stress? According to KidsHealth.org, good nutrition, proper rest, and healthy attention are great ways to help kids manage their stress. Set time aside each day to talk and spend time with your children; talking about worries will reduce or relieve anxieties. If you know about an upcoming stressful situation, like a school exam or a health checkup, prepare your child by studying with them or talking to them about what to expect.
Don’t stop here. For more tools and information regarding stress reduction in children, visit KidsHealth.org or contact your doctor.
ENCOURAGING YOUR LITTLE GIRL
Tips for Raising Strong, Confident Women
Encourage bravery and a growth mindset. Even children can feel pressured to perform to high standards yet stay within their comfort zone. They might think, “I’m not strong enough to climb this tree.” But whether it’s climbing trees or building things with others, small feelings of bravery can grow larger as they grow older. Self-empowerment will be a crucial skill in their lives, so encourage a mindset focused on growth through the process of learning. Teach them how the brain grows and adapts rapidly whenever we encounter failure and that failure and mistakes are a part of life. Once they understand that failure isn’t permanent, they’ll be inspired to take risks and solve their problems. Trust your daughter while teaching grit. Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth studies successful people in a wide variety of fields, from business to the military, and has found
that the quality most successful people share is grit. The ability to stay engaged with tough tasks for a long period of time is a skill that takes a long time to build, but it’s not impossible for your girl to begin developing grit right now. Duckworth believes the growth mindset can start young girls on a path to embracing failure and moving forward from it. However, a lack of trust in your daughter can suffocate her growth. Despite all the adult-directed activities we give our kids, we need to step back and let them make some of their own decisions. We can give them encouragement and help along the way, but for the most part, we need to trust they can solve problems on their own. When you put faith and trust in your little girl to handle her most difficult problems, she’ll learn to do the same for herself.
In a time when it’s so easy to let technology and school run your child’s life, what’s your role as a parent or guardian? We often hear motivational quotes talking about the importance of risk-taking and resilience, but it can be tough for little girls to learn from just YouTube videos and school alone. Here’s how you can encourage your daughter to spark her own confidence during her toughest moments.
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