As providers and caretakers, adults tend to view the world of children as happy and carefree. After all, kids don’t have jobs to keep or bills to pay, so what could they possibly have to worry about? Plenty! Even very young children have worries and feel stress to some degree.
Many kids are too busy to have time to play creatively or relax after school. Kids who complain about all their activities or who refuse to go to them might be overscheduled. Talk with your kids about how they feel about extracurricular activities. If they complain, discuss the pros and cons of stopping one activity. If stopping isn’t an option, explore ways to help manage your child’s time and responsibilities to lessen the anxiety.
Kids’ stress may be intensified by more than just what’s happening in their own lives. Do your kids hear you talking about troubles at work, worrying about a relative’s illness, or arguing with your spouse about financial matters? Parents should watch how they discuss such issues when their kids are near because children will pick up on their parents’ anxieties and start to worry themselves.
Also realize that some things that aren’t a big deal to adults can cause significant stress for kids. Let your kids know that you understand they’re stressed and don’t dismiss their feelings as inappropriate.