National Stress Awareness Day – Children feel Stressed Too!

We all know how stress can have a negative effect on our lives, but have you considered the effects of stress on children? 

So many parents I speak to ask for help with similar concerns about their children, do you recognise any of the following in your children…….(info from NHS.UK)

Lives are so busy, technology has become the main feature in our lives instead of spending time doing what we love or just being outdoors. Technology, whilst it of course has its benefits, also has a detrimental affect on our lives, particularly though on children.

The Council on Communication and Media at the American Academy of Paediatrics recently released new recommendations of NO screen time for babies under 18 months old and only 1 hour per day for children 2 – 5 years!

Use of screens, particularly in babies and children can:

  • displace sleep patterns
  • have a detrimental effect on social interaction
  • disrupt the development of play

My aim for this National Stress Awareness Day is to raise awareness of stress in children, even babies, and help families find their way to some fun, stress free (and technology free) time!

  1. Go collecting – take a walk in nature, by a river, in a forest or just around the local park and find 10 things you can take home and make a memory with. A leaf picture or stones to paint for the garden, the options are endless but time out in nature and fresh air has been proven to help children de-stress.
  2. Get out in the rain – years ago we would spend endless hours outside playing and in all weathers. Nowadays children don’t get the opportunity and are developing anxieties about getting dirty or going out in the rain. So wrap up, take an umbrella and put those wellies on and just have fun jumping in puddles and let those stresses wash away. You can always come home and warm up again!
  3. Let it go leaves – if your little one seems worried about something, take a walk to the nearest river or stream and find the biggest fallen leaves you can. Take the first turn telling your leaf everything that is worrying you (even if you have to make something up so your little one gets the idea), then let your little one do the same. When you have filled up your leaves with worries you can explain that as you let the leaves go and float away on the river their worries will get smaller and smaller as they float further away. Of course, this also gives you the opportunity to just listen to their worries and help in other ways later if you need to.
  4. Warm Milk Before Bed – bedtimes don’t need to be stressful, quite often our little ones just want that five minutes of alone time with us. Creating a routine that you can easily stick to wherever you are helps children to feel safe and secure so a simple special bedtime can work wonders. A cup of warm milk while you read a bedtime story not only helps wind down the stress levels but also helps the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, as it contains tryptophan and we all know the benefits of a good nights sleep!
  5. The Babyopathy Super Hero Tips – (sorry I love everything Disney and Super Heroes so can’t resist the theme) in my nurseries we use a number of sensory based tools to help the children to sleep, a familiar routine again always helps:
    • music – we use nature sounds such as the sea or the rainforest as natural ‘white noise’ to help the children fall to sleep on their own.
    • aromatherapy – our own special Bed Time blend of aromatherapy oils in a diffuser gently encourages restful sleep and routine.
    • crystals – scientists acknowledge that everything, including us, is made of energy. Crystals have their own energy vibration that can help to influence our own vibrations to support our well-being. So our sleep rooms (as well as other rooms) have beautiful crystals and himalayan salt lamps that work to reduce anxiety and promote restful sleep.
    • natural imagery – we complete the sensory picture with imagery on our walls that compliment the scene – an image of the sea or a forest. We have a natural inbuilt connection with nature that nurtures our wellbeing – what better way to sleep.