Too often, we think that stress is an adult issue. To many, childhood is a carefree time, full of play dates, lazy Saturdays, and few responsibilities. But in reality, stress can and does affect children, and it can have long-lasting mental and physical impacts. Studies have shown that exposure to stress at a very young age can change brain development and impair cognitive function, while firsthand and secondhand stress in childhood and adolescence can likewise result in mental and physical problems later in life.
For these reasons and more, it’s key to learn effective stress management techniques to approach stressful situations with and around your family. Here are some TITLE tips for family stress management!
Stress Management Techniques for Families
Take the Time To Talk & Listen
Sometimes, stress can cause us to shut down and withdraw. Not only does this model poor stress management techniques to children, but it can also impact cognitive development if done frequently in the presence of a newborn or young child. Rather than ignoring the stressor or avoiding discussion with your spouse or child, you should communicate and attempt to work through the stress.
If you’re stressed or you notice that a family member is stressed, initiate discussion about what’s wrong. Keep in mind that other family members, particularly children and teenagers, may be more resistant to talking about their stress — but be clear that you are there to listen and help any way you can.
Stress management techniques aren’t just about coping with stress — they’re also about getting to the root of the problem and doing your best to change the factors that are stressing you. For example, if an overpacked schedule is stressing out both kids and parents, it might be time to cut back on your children’s after school activities and focus on the 1-2 hobbies they enjoy most. Or if the kids are doing well with a busy schedule, consider asking friends or family members if they can help out by ferrying the kids to soccer practice so that you don’t have to habitually miss important work meetings. Don’t just accept the people or situations that are stressing you out — troubleshoot them!
Make Time For Things That Make You Happy
Your sole focus as a parent shouldn’t be reducing your children’s stress — you must also prioritize stress management techniques for yourself! Research has shown that children are happier and healthier when their parents are happy, too. So make sure you have time to participate in the activities, hobbies, and social engagements that bring you joy. You don’t have to sacrifice a social life to be a good parent — having some fun down time around friends and family members can do wonders when it comes to your stress levels.
Add in Family Fitness
Our stress management techniques wouldn’t be complete without a little family fitness. Exercising as a family not only promotes bonding, but also provides hormonal stress relief thanks to the release of happy-making endorphins. Talk to your family to come up with the family fitness routine that works best for you: there’s a wide array of activities, from basketball to flag football to hiking to biking, that all make for great, active family time!
Parents can also find the nearest TITLE Boxing Club to KNOCKOUT stress! Remember, your stress can affect your kids, even when it’s not directly related to them — so it’s important to implement these stress management techniques ASAP.