Stress in kids? Really?
After missing school and numerous trips to the doctor, my pediatrician kindly advised me that my kindergartner’s stomach aches were mostly likely due to anxiety — there was no physical cause.
My daughter, like many kids, experience stress physically. Headaches, stomach aches, vomiting and bed wetting are all common manifestations of stress.
I called in to the Love and Logic radio show. with Dr. Jim Fay who suggested I tell my husband about my own anxiety when my daughter was nearby, and how I handled my feelings, giving my daughter some solution ideas. I was supposed to let her overhear.
“I was so worried about going to that meeting today, I felt kind of weird in my tummy. I decided to take five deep breathes and that really helped. And, the meeting went really well after all.”
This was hard to remember but I think it was good advice. Kids do like to overhear things we say — especially those times we don’t want them to be listening!
My husband noticed that if our daughter didn’t get enough physical activity, her behavior and anxiety got worse. We still make sure that we spent time outside running, swinging, jumping and playing. If it istoo cold, we’d rough house inside, jump off the couch, play basketball in our basement (I put up a hoop) or pretend to be dogs. It helps her so much.
BREATHING AND VISUALIZATION
Lori Lite created Stress Free Kids, a line of books, CDs and curriculum. She sent me Indigo Dreams, 60 minutes of stories and music. Children follow the characters along as they learn belly breathing with A Boy and a Bear, make positive statements with The Affirmation Web, visualize with A Boy and a Turtle and relax with The Goodnight Caterpillar.
I loved the CD but my daughter wouldn’t sit still to listen to more than a few minutes. She will move up until the last second before she has to sleep. Even when I read to her before bed, she’ll knit, reorganize her desk or fold clothes. But sitting, listening and breathing? Not so much.
However, I do think that for most kids, this is a great opportunity to practice calming and breathing. I suggest you take a look at this CD or the other products from Stress Free Kids – they meet a need in a world where more and more kids experience stress and anxiety.
Our pediatrician, Dr. Brian Kono, is trained in hypnotherapy. We tried a few sessions but the idea is that you learn how to calm yourself through visualization and imagery. I thought it was so helpful but my daughter, again, just wouldn’t do it. It does take a willingness on her part to be successful. Perhaps when she’s older and can understand how it could help.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What’s worked for your child and your family?