Is your child feeling stressed?

Stress is a result of the demands placed on us and our ability to meet them. These demands often come from outside sources, such as family, jobs, friends, or school. But it also can come from within, related to what we think we should be doing versus what we're actually able to do. It can affect anyone who feels overwhelmed — even kids. In pre-schoolers, separation from parents can cause anxiety. As kids get older, academic and social pressures (especially from trying to fit in) creates stress.

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?

Unfortunately, the answer is plenty! Even very young children have worries and feel stress to some degree

Lots of kids these days are too busy to have time to play creatively or simply relax after school. Many children are over-scheduled, doing a different activity every day, running from home to school to activity and back. Talk with your children about how they feel about extracurricular activities. If they’re not happy, discuss the pros and cons of stopping one activity, or, explore ways to help manage your child's time and responsibilities to lessen the anxiety.

While it's not always easy to recognize when kids are stressed out, short-term behavioural changes — such as mood swings, acting out, changes in sleep patterns, or bed-wetting — can be indications. Some kids have physical effects, including stomach-aches and headaches. Others have trouble concentrating or completing schoolwork, or become withdrawn spending a lot of time alone. Younger children may pick up new habits like thumb sucking, hair twirling, or nose picking. Older kids may begin to lie, bully, or defy authority. A child who is stressed also may overreact to minor problems, have nightmares, become clingy, or have drastic changes in academic performance.

How can you help kids cope with stress? Proper rest and good nutrition can boost coping skills, as can good parenting. Make time for your kids each day. Whether they need to talk or just be in the same room with you, make yourself available. Don't try to make them talk, even if you know what they're worried about. Sometimes kids just feel better when you spend time with them on fun activities.

Even as kids get older, quality time is important. It can be hard for some people to come home after work and play with their kids or just talk to them about their day — especially if they've had a stressful day themselves, but expressing interest shows your kids that they're important to you.
Remember that some level of stress is normal. Let your kids know that it's OK to feel angry, scared, lonely, or anxious and that everyone shares those feelings. Reassurance is important, so let them know that you believe they can handle the situation and if they are feeling overwhelmed, that you are there for them.

Most parents have the skills to deal with their child's stress. The time to seek professional attention is when any change in behaviour persists, when stress is causing serious anxiety, or when the behaviour causes significant problems at school or at home. If you need help finding resources for your child, consult your doctor or the counsellors and teachers at school.

Grasshopper Soccer is committed to promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle, which is why we expect attendance only once a week.

We understand that kids need time to wind down and find time to relax and de-stress.
Getting outside and running around makes every problem seem smaller – it’s hard to feel stressed when you are surrounded by a supportive team of Grasshopper Soccer buddies!