Stress: 9 Articles

Learn the signs of anxiety and stress in children and teens

Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside-down. All the uncertainties and changes cause stress. Unstuck! is a workbook for tweens and teens to help them manage stress and anxiety, express emotions, and cultivate creativity and gratitude. Hear author Bonnie Zucker, PsyD, read Unstuck! aloud. Download your free copy of Unstuck!: 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic here.

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Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic 2020-07-07T16:41:56-04:00

Helping Children Find Their Light in Dark and Scary Times

Fear can be debilitating for children, especially when it arises from a situation such as parental illness or another major change that increases their vulnerability. The COVID-19 pandemic has created this situation for many families and children.  In her note to parents and caregivers, Ani’s Light author, Dr. Tanu Shree Singh provides guidance about supporting a child through difficult situations with empathy, caring, and honesty. Honest matters. Our first instinct in a difficult situation might be to protect our child by keeping the truth from them or creating tall tales.Though we assume they won’t  understand, hiding the truth rarely helps. Children have a built-in lie detector, so it’s best not to lie to your child or hide basic information. Whatever the situation, share information in age-appropriate words. There are many books that deal with all sorts of difficult topics, including illness, loss, divorce, and more. These can be a great starting point for conversation. It is ok not to know the answers. Some questions have no clear answers, but don’t avoid them. It is okay to not know, and even better to address and accept the uncertainty together. As a parent, sometimes we overwhelm ourselves with the need to give factual answers. However, questions around death and uncertainty might have no clear answers. To accept that with your child is to take a step closer to healing. Help your child deal with their emotions. Acceptance of emotions is an important part of healing and promoting resilience. Let your child know all emotions are acceptable. It is also essential for them to know that bad things can happen in life and it is no one’s fault. Learning to cope and manage our feelings is what makes the difference.  Routines are important. Routines give a sense of security to a child. A consistent schedule and familiar faces create a sense of normalcy. Stick to regular patterns, from bedtime to school routines, as much as you can. Everyone is creating new daily routines during the pandemic. Do what works for your family. Plan for fun. Children need a break. Sometimes we get so caught up in managing problems that we forget that children need doses of fun. Try to schedule some fun time together. Seek help. Life gets overwhelming when illness or huge changes are taking up all our time and energy. In such situations, such as those created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be vigilant and seek professional help as needed.  Ultimately, the heart and mind have an enormous capacity to heal. All we can do as a parent is to be there and help our children learn to see love, grow resilience, and be reassured that letting the light in can help them through dark times. To find a therapist near you, use the APA Psychologist Locator.

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Helping Children Find Their Light in Dark and Scary Times 2020-05-06T11:42:08-04:00

Recognizing Anxiety in Children: How to Spot and Identify Symptoms

We're all feeling anxious in the era of COVID-19. Our daily routines have been disrupted, simple tasks like grocery shopping are now much more complicated, we're separated from from friends and family, and there's the possibility of becoming infected. Some families are also experiencing financial distress or have lost family members to the virus. As an adult, you know what stress and anxiety feel and look like for you, but how do children exhibit these emotions? This repost from 2018, describes how to identify anxiety in your child and how to help. The world is big and new to young children, and...fears of the unknown are common. For parents of young children, watching your son or daughter exhibit potential symptoms of anxiety can feel particularly distressing. As a parent, you strive to make childhood a carefree, joyful time. But even in loving, safe, and supportive households, issues of anxiety can still come up. If you suspect your child is showing signs of anxiety, it’s important to first understand that you are not alone. In fact, it is estimated that between 12% and 24% of American children suffer from psychological disorders at some point in their development.¹ The good news is, there are many resources available to help your child manage anxiety and get back to the business of being a kid. Parents often feel confused (and anxious themselves!) when trying to navigate anxiety issues. Taking it one step at a time can be helpful. First, you’ll want to determine if your child is experiencing anxiety—or simply feeling an appropriate amount of worry for their age. What is the difference between anxiety and worry? One of the most important markers of anxiety is proportion. A child suffering from an anxiety disorder may be overwhelmed by intense fear or worry that do not match the situation.2 For example, a child suffering from separation anxiety may be so consumed by fear that something bad will happen when away from their parents, they may refuse to go to school. It’s normal for a child to experience some hesitation when leaving their parents, but if it is impacting their ability to enjoy time with their friends or leave their parents’ side, it can be considered more than an ordinary worry. Children experience a myriad of fears that can be elevated from worry to anxiety. In addition to separation anxiety, fear of the dark, strangers, doctors, and even a fear of rejection by their peers are just a few common worries. Whatever the worries are, and no matter how trivial they may seem to an adult, their concerns should be taken seriously. The world is big and new to young children, and therefore fears of the unknown are common. What are signs of anxiety in children? Keep in mind that every child is different, but there are some typical signs of anxiety in children. Symptoms tend to present themselves both physically and emotionally. You may find that your child asks the

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Recognizing Anxiety in Children: How to Spot and Identify Symptoms 2020-05-05T15:37:37-04:00