From the Chaplain
In our role as Chaplains, Naomi Gibbons and I come across an increasing number of students who are struggling with everyday occurrences.
At times they indicate they are feeling overwhelmed or don't know how to manage a certain situation. In some of these instances students are demonstrating signs of stress.
An amount of stress is normal in everyday life, particularly for adolescents, however there are strategies and suggestions that can be applied to assist our children to better manage these situations and to reduce their level of stress:
- Don’t jam pack too much into their lives.
One of the biggest stressors for kids is being overscheduled; kids need downtime to rejuvenate. Their brains and bodies need to rest, but often they will not be able to recognise this for themselves. That is why it is very important for you, as parents, to know when your child is becoming over-scheduled. Make sure that there are scheduled periods in your child’s week or weekend where they can simply kick back and relax.
- Make time for play.
Professionals say that one of the most important contributors to your child’s well-being is to combine play time with physical activity. Some ideas include: riding bikes, kicking a ball or going on a hike.
- Sleep is a vital component in reducing stress.
We know as parents that we can deal with so much more in life when we get enough sleep. It is exactly the same for our children, because they are able to reduce their stress and be in a better mood after a good night’s sleep, allowing them to perform better at school. Coupled with that idea, professionals recommend reducing your child’s screen time, watching less TV and managing their electronic devices.
- We set the example
As adults, we are not immune to stress, however, stress can be really contagious. When we are stressed, our children get stressed, too, and if you are living in an environment with high stress levels, then your children are going to pick up on that. We need to do the best we can to demonstrate and produce a relaxed environment. While this may be easier said than done, it is very important for our children to see us displaying positive, slowed-down behaviour instead of stress. Finally, make the morning as smooth as possible, because this will set the tone for the rest of the day!
- Let your kids know it is okay to make mistakes.
Driving a great deal of the stress felt by children is the fear of making mistakes. Reminding them that they are not supposed to be perfect and know how to do everything correctly is very important. It is good to get things right, but it is a critical life skill to know how to learn from and recover from a mistake. The best lessons that I have learnt have been from working out how to recover from my mistakes.
- Teach your kids to be kind to themselves
This point is often missed, but is so vital to their well-being, because it will help them to avoid or mitigate the stress that they feel.
Please take care of yourselves and if you ever want to catch up for a chat, you are more than welcome to contact us at the College.