As a parent, chances are you feel stressed pretty regularly. What you may not realise is that this stress, and other daily stressors, can affect your children in a big way.
Stress can be especially challenging for children due to their immature emotional and intellectual development. Children’s brains are still developing and researchers are only now beginning to understand the negative effects stress is having on their neurological development.
Of course, there is no way you can completely remove stress from your child’s life. But there are ways you can reduce it.
It may sound obvious, but your children pick up on your energy. This means, if you are rushing around talking about being so busy and stressed, your children will learn that this is normal. Try to slow down in your own life. Your centred presence will be something your children can gravitate towards.
Let them have down time
We may think that children need to be constantly entertained, but really they (like us) need down time. This means time for them to do nothing, relax and even get bored. This is when they learn to tap into their own voice and how to be by themselves.
Encourage hobbies, without pushing
Allow your child to pursue their passions, whether they are creative, sport-related or academic. Try to resist the urge to push them to ‘win’ at it though, as this can take something that was a source of joy and turn it into a source of stress.
Teach relaxation techniques
Begin teaching your child ways they can relax. A great way to do this is using story telling to teach them deep breathing techniques before bed. This arms them with skills they can take into adulthood.
Limit screen time
TV and the Internet are addictive by nature, yet they continue to be an integral part of our culture. To get around this, try to teach your children how to manage their screen time by setting boundaries. Try to reduce screen time in the evening especially, as this can disrupt sleep.