Is Your Child Stressed? Resources for Stress Awareness Month

Children and young adults today report feeling more stress and anxiety than ever before, especially towards the end of the school year. One of the biggest challenges the adults in their lives face is understanding, and intervening, before stress becomes toxic to their well-being. So how can parents and educators help?

We need to reconsider how stress impacts our children. Just because other students appear focused and are finishing the year strong doesn’t mean your child is the same. The expectations of the environment, months of homework, focus and fatigue could be interfering with stress management. Their behavior says more than the stressful event itself; it’s how their body responds to stress that we need to be looking at if we want to help them thrive.

Signs of Stress in Children

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In younger children, picking up new habits, or reverting old habits is a common sign of stress. Wanting to be near a parent, asking for more time with them or needing to fall asleep with a parent is a sign they need some support. Other signs include thumb sucking, hair twirling, or nail biting. Children suffering from stress may also overreact to minor problems, have nightmares, lie, react aggressively, have trouble sleeping, or have drastic (normally worsening of) changes in academic performance.

According to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, “If the stress response is extreme and long-lasting, the result can be damaged, weakened systems and brain architecture with lifelong repercussions.” This is why we test neurotransmitters before the end of the school year so we can support the levels that are taxed. (NT link here).

Here are a few more great resources to help your child deal with stress and anxiety. I use these books with my client and their parents quite a bit. They are extremely effective and easy for kids as young as 5 to understand.

 Books and Resources for Stress Reduction

  • How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk
    By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
    One of the best parenting books I’ve ever read. If you want to have your child listen and be able to speak themselves, this is an amazing book. How we talk to teens helps solidify whether they will listen or not, and helps create a two-way channel of communication. I love this book because it really does put into words how to better communicate with them during times of anxiety and stress.

Great Books For Kids Dealing With Stress

  • Be Mindful Card Deck for Teens
    By Gina M. Biegel
    Tweens, teens and adults have been loving this mindfulness resource. I’ve been using this in my groups and individuals, and it provides great ideas and quick activities to use at all hours of the day. What I like about it is that it offers new and unique ideas as well as games that everyone in the family can use to calm the brain, no matter what time of the day it is.

 

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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