How parents can help their child manage stress from this year

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A new survey by OnePoll found that two-thirds (68%) of parents have begun to teach their children how to manage their stress because of this year’s events. Additionally, more than three in four (77%) believe having their child take a break from technology can vastly improve their mental and emotional health. What techniques can parents utilize to help kids reduce stress? Dr. Elizabeth Rice, an ND at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, discussed why tech causes stress, ways to help balance screen time, how to discuss stress openly with children/grandchildren, and alternate activities.

There are a lot of things going on in the world right now. Many adults are stressed. We talked to Rice about how kids are responding to this. She says the pandemic is definitely impacting the children. Rice thinks this was a really neat survey because many of the surveys are talking about how many are stressed and what they are doing when they are stressed and how it is causing anxiety and depression. However, this survey talks about how many parents are being proactive and helping their kids manage stressful events.

Rice talks about how more technology screen time can cause more stress. With the pandemic, many people are turning to screens to get their social interaction. Bryce says the more time you spend scrolling through your phone the higher chance you have of having depression and anxiety. This is just as true for children as it is for adults and teens. The more time children spend on the screens, the more parents are seeing tantrums, mood problems, and more. We talk about how to identify general stress in kids. Rice said the main emotion she sees is frustration and anger, even before tears. Rhea said she teaches her patients to recognize the emotion and “tell the child that it is okay to feel these big feelings.” Also says that it is important to establish boundaries and let the child know what is not okay. She gave examples of how to use this. She said this will help children develop emotional awareness.

We also talked about the ideas of managing stress in children and if it has changed over the years. Rice encourages people to consider the foundations of health. She said if we are taking care of the body physically, it can impact them mentally and emotionally. Rice said to make sure your children are getting enough sleep, eating good food, and getting outside. These things can help children handle stress better. Lastly, we talk about adults handling their stress around children and how they should do that. Rice said children do pick up on how parents are handling stress and other emotions.

Elizabeth Rice, an ND at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

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