Low Stress Environment for Children
Creating Low Stress Environment in which the kids can play, learn, and explore is the key to reducing stress and unlocking every child’s potential. Children crave attention. Not necessarily a lot, just enough to know you care and love them. It makes them feel loved and essentially stress-free and gives children a greater sense of freedom and self-confidence. Keys to happiness and success, for both kids and adults, include the ability to deal with emotional upsets and stress, practice positive thinking, and learn tools for handling relationships with others. People can be naturally happy when they find out how to deal with conflict and express feelings in productive ways.
Meeting a new class pet, mastering long division, and giving a speech in front of the classroom all create stress on a developing brain. But there are many ways teachers and parents can help children manage stress. Positive reinforcement and encouragement are excellent ways to help children overcome anxiety and fear. Negative criticism amplifies stress as it reinforces the child’s worries behind the stress. Criticism should be constructive and encouraging to help children master new tasks while keeping pressure from becoming overwhelming. There is so much stress in our society, it is a parents responsibility to create a low stress environment at home.
Creating Low Stress Environment for Children
We reached out to some of the experts in this field to help us on this topic, we are really thankful to each of them for their well esteemed support.
Dr. Carl J. Sheperis, Ph.D., NCC, CCMHC, MAC, ACS, LPC.
Dr. Claire Nicogossian
Julianne Neely MSW, LCSW
Dr. Carl J. Sheperis
Dr. Carl J. Sheperis, Ph.D., NCC, CCMHC, MAC, ACS, LPC. Program Dean College of Social Sciences, University of Phoenix. Dr. Sheperis is an author of the best practices in parenting for the American Counseling Association and is a noted expert on child behavior.
Stress is something that is unavoidable and has a place in helping us to adapt to our environment. We are all familiar with the fight or flight response that helps us react appropriately to danger. That automatic response occurs as a result of adrenaline and cortisol surging through our bodies and is necessary for us to survive. However, we also know that too much stress causes danger to our physical and emotional wellness. Like most things, balance is also important to stress.
Stress is a common focus of concern for everyday life. While there are differing opinions, it takes three forms:
(a) Acute Stress
(b) Episodic Acute Stress
(c) Chronic Stress
Acute stress is short term and often situational while episodic acute stress involves recurring patterns of situational stress (e.g., Type A personalities). Chronic stress is the real culprit regarding lasting adverse effects on our physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.
Reducing Stress in Children
For children, some level of stress is just as important regarding creating healthy survival instincts and the ability to adapt to a changing world. However, as is the case in adults, chronic stress will lead to a variety of negative outcomes for children including behavioral problems, school performance issues, and relationship problems. To reduce the potential for chronic stress to be a factor in child development, there are few considerations for their general environment.
Structure and consistency are critical factors in healthy child development.
A child needs to be able to predict their day to day life to have a sense of life balance. While some change is good, having a predictable routine (e.g., scheduled activities, bedtime routine) will help create a sense of security. In addition to having predictable routines, it is also important for children to have clear rules for their behavior and consistent consequences for breaking rules (e.g., time-out, loss of privileges, additional chores). By knowing boundaries, children can regulate their behavior and thus reduce the stress potential.
Positive parent and caregiver support play critical roles in child development.
Childhood is a complex developmental process that involves a range of emotional responses. How parents and caregivers provide emotional support will determine the potential impact of stress related to the developmental process. Being willing to listen, encouraging discussions, and spending time relationship building are key factors to stress reduction. Also, parents and caregivers should consider balance in extracurricular activities; regulating the amount to access to social media and gaming; become involved in and supportive of hobbies, and should focus on overall wellness.
The school is a high-stress source for many children.
While parents may not be able to eliminate school related stress, they should try to be informed about children’s school days and the typical struggles such as test anxiety, homework difficulties, bullying, peer pressure, self-esteem, and others. Again, encouraging open discussions and making concerted attempts at building positive self-esteem will be important for managing stress.
Maintain healthy relationships in the home environment may be the most critical factor in reducing childhood stress.
In general, children have the ability to be resilient in the face of adverse situations. The level of resiliency is much stronger when healthy and strong relationships exist among family members. How parents and caregivers interact with each other and with children will be a primary component in determining if a child feels safe and nurtured.
Dr. Claire Nicogossian
Dr. Claire Nicogossian; a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Rhode Island. Also a writer and author, featured an expert in WebMd, Redbook, The Providence Journal, Essence online, Mothering.Com and the Today Show Community Parenting. You can connect with her on her websites, momswellbeing.com and drclairenicogossian.com.
How to Create a Low Stress Environment for Children
Listen to your child, what they like, don’t like and preferences.
This can be a tough line because sometimes kids don’t want to do something and need that extra encouragement and direction to do so. But listen to your child, follow his/her lead, they will let you know.
Don’t over schedule.
So many parents do this, and having no free time or unstructured time can be very stressful for a child. Make sure that you balance activity levels and opportunities for rest and restoration.
Allow for low-key days after busy, long and stressful days.
Allow your child to feel bored!
When a child feels tired, they are more likely to engage in self-starter behaviors. Which is a fancy word for finding activities they want to do. When a child directs the activity and interest, there are fewer arguments, headaches and both child and parent feel better.
Spend time with your child.
Allow your child to have time at home relaxing and bonding together as a family in a fun, engaging activities.
Encourage your child to talk about their feelings, express gratitude and when upset to journal or find an activity that allows for self-expression.
Get to know your child and create opportunities for them to explore activities and interests even if you don’t think it’s something you’d like or do.
For example, if your child wants to explore drama and singing but you’d rather they engage in baseball because that’s what you did, check yourself and ask, is this really in my child best interest or am I trying to recreate or relive through my child?
Allow your child to make mistakes and support and encourage an atmosphere of unconditional love and support, and consequences if needed.
Parents, take care of yourselves, when we as parents manage our stress, we not only create harmony in our home, but we also live by example, which is the greatest lesson to our children.
Jacqueline Soto; a life coach to stressful mothers and a mother of four. For more information about me you can go to www.returnandreconnect.com.
Tips on Creating Low Stress Environment for Children
Children pick up and emulate their parent’s behavior and feelings.
As a parent, it is important to learn techniques to lower your stress. It can be breathing exercises, coloring or taking a relaxing bath.
Allow your children to communicate their feelings.
It will create trust between the two of you and an outlet for them.
Create a daily routine.
Daily Routines give children something to look forward to and free them from having to worry about the day.
Always answer your child in a respectful and soft tone.
Doing this will establish a trusting, loving relationship. Having an environment that is pleasing to look at lowers stress.
You can create a low stress environment by just maintaining a tidy house.
Using a particular candle or oil diffuser can also reduce stress. Whenever your child smells the fragrance, they will associate it with their home. And when they think of home, they’ll think of love.
Julianne Neely MSW, LCSW – pediatric therapist, parent coach at Individual and Family Connection in Chicago, IL – www.ifccounseling.com
Creating Low Stress Environment for Children
The best way parents can lower stress levels in their children is by providing a safe place and by being with them in their time of stress. If you sense your child is stressed, don’t try to fix the problem or take the stress away immediately, sit with them, listen to what is bothering them and carry the burden with them rather than trying to rescue them quickly. We want our children to feel equipped to manage stress and to know their parents will support them on the way.
Often, children need to feel heard without judgment and to know that their parents will carry their burdens with them, but not take them away or fix it for them. Stress isn’t always a negative thing; stress is our internal cue that things are not quite right, and we need to readjust. Children need to feel stress and learn how to manage it appropriately. The best way to create a low stress environment for children is to teach them that no matter what, mom and dad can handle their stress and be there with them in it.
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