Pressure and Stress Page
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Just like grown-ups, kids experience pressure and stress. Learn how to identify stress in children, how to help them navigate through it, and strategies to relax!
Mental health Q&A with Dr. Ariana Hoet. Hi, I'm Dr. Ariana Hoet, clinical director of On Our Sleeves and a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital. I'll be answering questions for you, the Go Noodle community. I'm excited you're here with me to talk about this important topic, Pressure and Stress. Let's get the conversation going. What are signs of stress in kids? The signs of stress and kids are really any changes in their behaviors or their mood. So if you notice your child is acting different, you know them best that can be a sign. So if they're acting withdrawn, they don't want to socialize, or they don't want to do certain activities that may indicate that they're feeling nervous or afraid about it, but also irritability, can't focus, any signs of physical pain, those all may indicate stress. What are ways that young kids share their stress? Young kids may not have the language to tell us what they're feeling, they also may just not know what they're feeling. So it comes out in behaviors a lot. Tantrums, meltdowns, maybe even oppositional behaviors, kicking, screaming, throwing things. And also that physical maybe my tummy hurts or my head hurts, all those things indicate that tension that they may be feeling from stress. Test taking in big events cause a lot of pressure for my students or child. How can I help? Test taking or big events the stress and pressure we feel right before can be helpful because it's what motivates us to prepare, study, practice, and so we want to normalize some of that. Of course, for some kids it starts to get in the way of their focus, their success, their ability to even engage. And so for those kids maybe we want to all practice together some relaxation exercises right before the test or activity, or you talk to them one on one to see what's going through their mind, what's really stressing them out. In the cases where it's a lot more difficult, I cannot walk into that classroom, I can't go to school, I'm too nervous or stressed. That kid may have an anxiety disorder, and so you may want to consider talking to the school counselors and the parents to implement an IEP or 504 plan to get them certain accommodations like taking the test alone or getting more time, getting breaks so that they can cope with that stress and anxiety they're feeling. What are ways to help kids with relaxation? Relaxation exercises can be really fun. Doing diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing where we breathe like there's a balloon in our belly, doing progressive muscle relaxation, where you relax head to toe, tensing and relaxing different muscle groups, meditation. There are really a lot of videos and free apps online that you can use and help guide children through these exercises. I hope you enjoyed our Q&A session. Our mission is to help raise healthy kids by empowering the adults who love them with the resources they need along the way. Visit our All The Feels channel on gonoodle.com for free mental health tools and resources. And we invite you to join our community for ongoing tips from onoursleeves.org. Because children don't wear their thoughts on their sleeves, were determined to give them a voice and empower the mental health and wellness of every child.