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New Start, No Stress

New Start, No Stress

A new school year is right around the corner. We’ll soon return to hectic schedules, filled with rushed mornings and last-minute class projects. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to forget that parents aren’t the only ones who get stressed about the school year. With their own busy schedules and pressure to perform, kids today face a lot of stress. School, homework, friends, family disruptions, and changes in routines are just a few sources of stress in children. Luckily, stress doesn’t have to be an issue for the younger generation (not yet, at least).

Stress Doesn’t Discriminate

Stress is not often associated with children; however, it’s important to remember that stress can affect people of all ages – even children as young as three. The website Kids Health states, “In preschoolers, separation from parents can cause anxiety. As kids get older, academic and social pressures (especially from trying to fit in) create stress.”

School + After-School Activities = Stress

Obviously, children need school. And after-school activities are nearly as necessary since they enable kids to develop talents and teach them how to push themselves. However, both can be huge causes of stress. According to Dr. Susan Newman, a social psychologist, overscheduling should not be taken lightly. Establishing a good school-life balance is a must when aiming to eliminate stress. Signing up for too many activities is practically a guaranteed way to make a child feel stressed or anxious. And in the case of time-consuming activities, like sports, even one activity can be too much, according to Dr. Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute.

Coping with Stress

There are plenty of ways to decrease, or even eliminate, stress in children. One thing you don’t want to do is pile on activities that are long-term commitments or super time-consuming. “Parents shouldn’t forget that children can also benefit from self-directed activities, albeit in structured blocks of time. Sometimes there’s not enough emphasis put on the importance of independent work time,” says Rachel Cortese, a speech-language pathologist and former schoolteacher.

Finding the right stress-busting activity is a decision you and your child should make together, but here are a few common strategies for helping youngsters deal with stress:

1. Get Outdoors

Spending some time outside, whether hiking, biking, or simply cloud-watching, is a great way for kids to de-stress. Looking for the ultimate outdoor treasure to explore? Consider paying a visit to Tishomingo State Park. Located in the foothills of the Appalachians, it features huge rock formations, waterfalls, and a swinging bridge – which are sure to make a lasting impression. Past visitor, Nickole Akins, described Tishomingo as a “Great place for the family to spend the day walking trails. So much to do and see.”

2. Yoga

Ever heard the saying, “Relax and take a deep breath?” Well, there’s a reason that’s an expression – and it’s because deep breathing is a known stress reducer. A few controlled, deep breaths can do wonders when a child is upset. Take the act of deep breathing to the next level by enrolling your child in a yoga class, which can be extremely beneficial. Tara Blumenthal, founder of Tara Yoga in Flowood, expanded on the benefits of yoga for children, telling us, “Mentally, the steady and mindful pace of yoga classes give kids a chance to push the reset button. We know adults need that, but kids also need that too. Whether they are dealing with a peer issue or academic pressure, kids have stress too.”

3. Let’s Get Physical

Exercise is one of the best ways for kids to relieve stress. In fact, exercise is both a proactive and reactive approach to dealing with stress – and that’s because regular exercise can prevent feelings of stress, while a few hours of physical activity is a great cure for stress that’s already been incurred. A simple solution, exercise can include things that can be done at home, like playing outside with friends. It can also include activities away from home, such as visiting a park, skating rink, or indoor play center, like House of Bounce in Saltillo. The 30,000-square-foot facility features several inflatables, a rock wall, zip line, and more. Despite being in business for less than five years, it’s already a big hit. Sarah Hudson, a recent patron, said of her visit, “My kids had so much fun there and the staff was wonderful. The prices were really good too!”

 

Daniella DiRienzo is a self-proclaimed southerner who graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011 and has been working as a freelance writer ever since.

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