stress and anxiety Resources
Here are some reminders about healthy lifestyles that will help kids (and adults, for that matter), have a successful year and be ready to handle life's challenges:
Is your child eating a balanced breakfast that provides fuel for the brain and body as s/he starts the day? Does s/he have a healthy lunch and recess snack to keep energy levels stable until the end of the school day?
Is your child getting 9-10 hours of sound sleep to meet his/her health and growth needs? Is the bedroom free from light or sound distractions? Does your child engage in relaxing activities before bed to promote readiness for a good night's sleep?
Health and Hygiene
Does your child have regular physical examinations, including vision, hearing and dental? Does your child practice good hygiene by bathing, changing clothing and brushing teeth regularly?
Does your child have an established study place and time? Is the study place well-lit and comfortable? Is it equipped with pencils, erasers, and other school supplies? Do you know when your child does his/her best work (right after school or after dinner)? Do you know whether s/he works best in one block of time or in short spells with breaks?
Leisure and Fitness
Does your child take part in extracurricular activities that promote social skills, creativity, and/or physical fitness? These might include art, music, dance, sports, Sunday school, Scouts, martial arts, or many other possibilities. Is there time left over for free play and reading for fun? Is there a balance of individual activity, time with friends, and time with family?
The key word in planning for a successful school year is balance. Just as too much or too little sleep or food can pose problems, so can too much or too little structured time. Some children find it difficult to achieve a balance between time at the computer or TV, and time devoted to creative or physical activity. Encourage your child to think of life as a jigsaw puzzle that can be completed only by including each of the above.
KidsHealth.org This website has many good resources about health, stress, and other issues for children, teens, and parents.
Children and Youth Health. Australia's Children, Youth and Women's Health Service has created an accessible website with resources and information on a variety of health and wellness issues for pregnant moms, children, teens, and young adults.
Stress is not just something that adults have to deal with- the issues in children's lives are often as real to them as yours are to you.
Some stressors for kids can include:
Remember, though, that stress can be positive- it tells us that something in not right, and it can motivate us to make things better. Healthy stress also helps us do our best by pushing us further. Stress is only a problem when it becomes too big, or when we handle it in ways that cause more problems.
Check back here shortly for some more information and ideas to help you help your children learn about stress and healthy ways to handle it.
Stress and Relaxation Resources
stress-relief-tools.com This website offers information about stress, as well as describing several relaxation strategies that are appropriate for kids and adults. While no specific credentials are listed on the website about its author, the variety of techniques described are clear and consistent with accepted practices.
"Enchanted Meditations for Kids", By Christiane Kerr. This cd includes guided imagery stories especially designed for kids, to help them relax and let go of stress. These imaginative visualizations are accompanied by soothing music, and can be used to help children sleep or just relax at any time of the day.
Stress Relief for Kids: Taming Your Dragons, by Martha Belknap. This book provides creative relaxation activities for home and school, using stretching and exercises, guided imagery, and focuses on the senses.
Stress can show itself through the way children act and react to situations. Understanding and handling strong feelings can help children handle stressful situations successfully. It is important for kids to know that anger (and all feelings) is okay- it's what we do when we are angry that can have positive and negative consequences. A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger, by Eliane Whitehouse and Warwick Pudney, provides information, activities and worksheets for children to use on their own or with an adult to help them understand and manage this strong feeling.
A book list and other resources will be added soon. In the meantime, check out the AnxietyBC website for some good information and ideas.
What to do When You Worry Too Much- A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety. By Dawn Heubner. This interactive book provides writing and drawing activities, with easy-to-understand information and ideas on understanding and managing worrying.