We hear a lot about stress.  Parents, teachers, doctors, nurses, everyone, you name them, they are stressed out and tired.  There are any number of gyms, spas, hotels etc cashing in on this growing business catering to de-stressing the very overly tired people of this world.  But what about our kids?  Are they too stressed out and too tired to learn?

Yes indeed a growing body of research seems to indicate a trend towards overly tired, stressed out kids. I often think we live in a whirlwind of activity, we are always racing off to do the next thing and literally finding minutes here and there to squeeze something in.  Generally what I see from one end of the week to the next is rush, rush, rush and that includes the kids.  How many times a day do I say, ‘hurry up, ‘quickly’ etc…?  And why for example is it so stressful trying to get the kids here and there on time?  Simply because we are probably trying to squeeze in too much into each day.  But that is a different issue.   

Kids can’t not be negatively hit by the time pressures and demands of our busy days. Stressed out kids are health issues waiting to happen, ticking time bombs if you like.  If we don’t find a way to de-stress our kids they will develop health problems both physically and mentally.

So what to do?  How can we de-stress our kids without spending any money or ‘losing’ yet more time?  Here are some of my suggestions, I am sure you can add more to the list yourselves.

  1. Water Drink it, lots of it.  Get your kids drinking water over other drink choices.  If they are feeling fuzzy headed, have a dull headache or appear lethargic, give them a glass of water.  Remind them to drink regularly during the school day, a few sips here and there will go a long way towards de-stressing and generally improving health.
  2. Exercise I guess each school system has different ideas of how much exercise is built into the curriculum.  However in my view unless your child is attending a sports or dance school, there is no way the allocated PE lesson schedule is enough exercise for your growing child.  So when they come home get them outside!  Play tag, skip, run, jump, laugh, play the old-fashioned way.  Bikes, scooters, skate-boards, skipping ropes etc can be great encouragements for taking exercise. 
  3. Get Plenty of Rest:  More and more kids apparently don’t get enough sleep.  This seems to coincide with the rise in popularity of tech gadgets, iPads, tablets, and pcs in kids’ rooms and of course TV.  So unplug at a set time.  Then allow some downtime or quiet time before bedtime.
  4. Eat Well:  Oh this is always my favourite…. LOL I know the struggle it can be.  However even with my two very fussy eaters I insist we all sit down to eat our meals, no dinners in front of tv or on the run and we eat together whenever possible.  As a general rule I cook simple, healthy dishes from scratch and only use a ready-made or processed food source once in a blue moon.  I find that organisation is the key.  I plan ahead for shopping and meals, this way I can keep on top of ‘the plan’ without stressing unduly. I do allow treats, but they should be treats and not a main food source.  Sure some days I fail miserably, but mostly I stick with the program and I believe my kids are healthier as a result.
  5. Teach kids to relax:  One technique I found really great while teaching in Hong Kong was a breathing technique.  At the beginning of the class we would close our eyes and ‘ding’ a chime while focusing on our breathing til we could no longer hear the sound of the chime, then repeat 2 more times.  This was amazingly relaxing and set a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere for the class to begin.  This could be done at home too anytime.  Kids might find it weird at first but it could be built into the daily routine, like before dinner or bedtime or whenever works in your family.
  6. De-stressing is vital for healthier, happier, more productive kids.  They need to be fully alert in their classrooms so that they can learn.  Like adults, kids perform better in all their activities when fully rested and ready for the day.  

Written by Katrina Bourke
Thumbnail picture by craft-therapyblogspot.com