Top 3 Ways to Help Children Manage Their Stress and Thrive This Summer
Dr. Shimi Kang, Psychiatrist and Founder of Dolphin Kids | June 25, 2020
As we head into the summer months, children may be feeling the anxiety and pressure that social isolation and being cooped up this winter has caused. Helping your child to develop the skills to manage stress and anxiety in unfavourable conditions is essential for their mental and physical health.
Every year, children have to adjust to winter months and limits on their activities. With the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re seeing even more restrictions and more uncertainty, which can lead to periods of confusion, stress, and sedentary activities for both adults and children.
To help children manage their emotions healthily, we’ve outlined three main areas that can aid in healthy physical body and brain function.
A Balanced & Healthy Diet
A healthy and balanced diet is a big part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. There has been a lot of research done on the effects of diet on anxiety and stress. Many of these studies have found direct correlations between specific vitamins and minerals and a reduction in different forms of anxiety.
We need to supply our bodies with the nutrients they need to repair themselves and function properly. Part of a healthy diet is drinking enough water, which, in turn, helps your body to flush toxins and regulate hormone functions.
Physical Activity & Exercise
Adequate physical activity is a vital part of a child’s growth and development as it allows a child to develop essential skills and a stronger sense of self-confidence. However, it’s important to note that a forced or frightening activity can have adverse effects on this development.
- Movement releases brain-derived neurotropic factors (BDNF). Cardiovascular exercise—any form of running around that elevates the baseline heart rate—is as effective as antidepressants for mild symptoms of depression and anxiety. Thirty to sixty minutes of exercise three times a week is beneficial in treating these conditions. – The Dolphin Parent
Studies have proven that low-to-moderate exercise has positive effects on adolescent children’s mental health and their perceived anxiety levels. Not only is exercise important for physical fitness and developing strong muscles and bones, but it’s also a contributing factor in mental strength and health.
Sleep deprivation can be a symptom of anxiety. However, it’s also an essential part of treating anxiety because sufficient sleep is vital for children’s physical and mental health. Through sleep, our subconscious processes life events, our muscles repair themselves, and we’re able to rest our brains and minds.
A lack of sleep can cause irritability and unnecessary stress on a child’s emotional responses. A child’s sleep needs will depend on how active they are, the level of stress they’re under, and their age.
- Around the world, we’re seeing a rise in children suffering from stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and insomnia. – The Dolphin Parent
Helping your child to remain mentally and physically healthy comes down to balance. When we lack adequate sleep, exercise, or the healthy foods that make us function, we’re more prone to stress. This can make it difficult for children to process their responses to the changes in their world.
Help your child to develop healthy habits early on, so in times of stress, they’ll have the proper tools to remain balanced, happy, and healthy.