National Stress Awareness Week: Tips for kids handling stress
Today is the end of National Stress Awareness Week and here at Banjo HQ we’ve been thinking about what can be stressful for our little ones, and what we can do to help.
Plenty of things can cause stress in your child’s life, and there are such things as good stress and bad stress. Good or ‘normal’ stress might show up when you’re called to talk in front of people at school. Do they describe butterflies in their stomach or sweaty hands? Those can be signs of good stress — the kind of stress that can help you to get things done and an amazing sense of achievement when they get a really positive reaction.
Unfortunately, our kids can experience bad stress if they keep having difficult feelings over time. For example, if their family is fighting, a friend is sick or they’re having problems at school. Stress can have a habit of sneaking up on you, and on your child too, so here are a few of our tips on how to help your little one deal with this tricky feeling:
Let them watch you!
If they can see that you are dealing with stressful situations really well, they’ll copy you. Thinking about this will help you to adopt healthy habits such as exercise and self-care to manage your own stress in healthy ways too!
It is also effective to find comfortable ways to talk to your child about your own stress. You can say things like ‘I found my job very difficult today but I talked to my friends and had some time to think, and now I feel better.’.
Stressful situations can lead to great conversations with your little ones about growth-mindset, resilience and wellbeing.
Listen to your little ones
Learning to actively listen to your child without being critical or solving problems for them is key. Provide guidance to teach your child ways to understand and solve the problems that upset them. Just feeling listened to will make them be able to talk through the problems they’re experiencing and, if the problem comes up again, they may deal with it differently.
Journaling is a FANTASTIC activity for kids who are reluctant to write or find it difficult to articulate their feelings.. The beauty of journaling is that it can be tailored to fit the needs and interests of your child writing it. For example, it can be used to record gratitude, emotions, dreams, frustrations, or anything that they want!
In 2018, the Journal of Medical Internet Research researchers found that keeping a journal reduced a person’s stress and anxiety levels after just one month. Wow! Journaling “may serve as an effective intervention for mitigating mental distress, increasing well-being,” the study’s authors said. “Journaling provides a place for an active mind to store ideas and an outlet for pent up intellectual energy and emotions,” says Peter Gwin, National Geographic’s Editor-at-Large. “I think of it as a mad scientist’s laboratory, a place with complete freedom to explore and say whatever the writer wants. It’s really that sense of freedom that’s important.” Writing in journals allows your child to feel in control of the content he chooses to write about and the length of his writing pieces. This choice and control make writing more appealing to your child.
Last summer, Banjo Robinson distributed 20,000 journals to kids throughout the UK. The Cats at Banjo HQ were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we received, with many parents commenting on how it helped their children to cope with their thoughts and feelings throughout August (and inspired them to keep busy too – thanks to fun ideas and activities included in the journal!). In response to this, we have been squirrelling away behind the scenes to create a jumbo 440 page 2022 year-long journal which you can NOW PURCHASE HERE and let the journaling journey begin for your child in 2022!
Routine at home
We know that this isn’t always achievable but just knowing that they will be having a bath at a certain time or a cuddle in bed at a particular time really helps to prevent some anxiety. You can make weekly routines fun too – how about games nights on a Monday or a film night on a Friday? Putting these things in place, with a relaxed home atmosphere, will really help with relieving their stress.
Grab some paper, pens, glue, feathers or anything crafty that you may have and get them to create something fabulous! You could even ask them to draw a picture of why they’re stressed out and talk through it with you. Getting them to talk about the problem too means that you can have a frank discussion with them about it, with no prejudice and get to the route of the stress and anxiety.
We hope that this helps and remember, if you’re struggling with your mental health, please contact The Samaritans on 116 123. Or, you can contact YoungMinds if you’re a young person by texting YM to 85258. Do not suffer alone.
Love, Banjo HQ x