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How to help your child cope with stress




As adults, many of us experience stress regularly and are well aware of the many ways it can impact on our everyday lives.


But it’s important to be aware that children can experience stress too, despite our best efforts to keep their lives as happy and carefree as possible.


Signs of stress in children


Every child is different and will react to stress in a different way. However, these common signs often indicate stress in young children:


· Physical reactions – such as crying, headaches, stomach pains, and problems sleeping

· Emotional reactions – including worrying, unusual shyness, changes in mood, behavioural problems, bedwetting, and difficulties focussing

· Behavioural reactions – such as lying, bullying, challenging authority, or overreacting

· New habits – such as hair twirling or thumb sucking.


Remember, you know your child best and understand what is considered typical behaviour for them. If you notice a physical, emotional, or behavioural change, it’s worth exploring whether they are stressed and, more importantly, why.


What to do if you notice signs of stress in your child?


If you notice that your child is showing signs of stress, try talking to them


You should also speak to their teachers to identify if the issue stems at school or nursery. If you’re worried, speak to their doctor or healthcare professional to find out more about steps you can take to manage their stress.


Here are our tips for helping your child manage and cope with stress


Get outside


Getting outside and soaking up some fresh air and much-needed vitamin D has been proven to help reduce the stress hormones in our bodies.


Whether you plan an adventure in the great outdoors, or you simply head out to play in the garden or for a walk around the block, getting out and about will help you and your little one feel much more relaxed and at ease.



Sensory play to reduce stress


Sensory play is a great way to reduce stress, as well as calming and soothing any anxiety your child is feeling. Stimulating their senses through sensory play helps them to become more grounded and regulate their feelings.


Play will also help your child stop focussing on whatever is worrying them, while helping them feel as though they are in control again.


Plenty of sleep


As adults, if we’re stressed and rundown, we’re usually advised to try and get more sleep. And the same is true for your little ones.


Try sending them to bed 5 minutes earlier than the night before, each night for a few days. This will gradually increase the amount of sleep they’re getting without feeling like a significant change to their routine. If they’re in the napping stage still, do the same at nap time.


Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate


Water reduces stress and anxiety, so get as much extra water into your little one’s diet as possible. Adding fruit to their water, for example, will encourage them to drink more to enjoy the fresh, fruity flavour.


And it’s not just about drinking water – playing in water helps too. So go swimming, get your wellies on and go splash in puddles, get out their favourite water-based sensory play, or run them a relaxing bath.


Exercise


Exercise and movement can help relieve stress in people of all ages. So get your children moving around as much as possible, whether that’s going for a walk, playing their favourite sport in the park, or running around the garden. There are plenty of ways to increase movement and they’ll help lift their mood and reduce stress.



Our sensory play mats can help reduce stress in children and adults alike. They are a great way to implement stress-reducing sensory play into your routine and, most importantly, they’re lots of fun!

Explore our range of Happy Feet and Muffik play mats and get in touch if you need any assistance.

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