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How to identify stress in your children's lives and help them cope
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We often think of children as carefree and innocent, but the anxieties they face can weigh them down every day. Sometimes we see the effects while other times recognizing and identifying stressors might not be so obvious. - photo by Jenniffer Michaelson
We often think of children as carefree and innocent, but the anxieties they face can weigh them down every day. Sometimes we can see the effects it may have on their moods and overall behavior, while other times recognizing and identifying stressors might not be so obvious.

There are a variety of things that can cause stress in a childs life. Dr. David Orme, a child and adolescent psychologist and pediatrician, says that a childs lack of exercise is very much at play in increasing their stress response.

In this day and age, children do not spend as much time being active due to increasing technologies. Growing screen time has a negative impact on the stress levels of a child, as well as peer pressure and school grades. Orme says divorce and parental conflict can also have an effect on kids.

Knowing how to detect stress in a child can seem difficult since kids usually are so carefree and playful.

"If theyre not having fun that should be a serious sign to parents, Orme said.

If your child seems to have lost interest in playing or being with his or her friends, this should be a clue he or she may be experiencing anxiety.

There are long-term consequences of this issue and dealing with a childs stress shouldnt be put off. Limiting screen time can reduce a childs stress response. Whether its television, an iPad or video games, Orme says a screen is a screen and recommends two hours or less screen time a day. Exercise is also a great combatant to stress and it can reduce the elevated hormones associated with stress and anxiety.

Family support is one of the best coping skills for stress. Communicate with your children daily and help them to find ways to not only manage, but face their stressful situations as well. A good place to start is to let your children pursue their interests and hobbies and make sure theyre eating a healthy diet and getting a good night's sleep.
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