Once upon a time we used to be able to tell kids to enjoy being young because they have the rest of their lives to be adults. However, childhood is not like how it used to be! Kids these days are stressed out and many of them lack the skills needed to practice healthy stress management.
There is so much emphasis on standardized testing which puts kids under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform well.
Testing isn’t the only source of stress for kids either. Social media has brought bullying to a new level. Before social media, if you were picked on at school, usually you could take comfort in knowing that once the school day ended the torment was over.
Not so for today’s kids. Now the bullying can follow them outside of school as they are harassed on various social media platforms. When you are a kid it’s hard to believe that you will be able to rebound from being publicly humiliated on social media. This kind of thinking and the inability for some kids to cope with the stress of being bullied have led some kids to take their own lives.
Research findings suggests that today’s teens are experiencing stress patterns very similar to that of adults. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “many American teens report stress at unhealthy levels, appear uncertain in their stress management techniques and experience symptoms of stress in numbers that mirror adults’ experiences.”
The APA’s Stress in America survey found that 40 percent of teens reported feeling irritable and angry because of stress, 36 percent reported feeling anxious and nervous, while another 30 percent reported feeling sad or depressed. As for how stress affects their physical health, 36 percent of teens report that stress makes them tired, 36 percent say they experience headaches when stressed, and 23 percent said they’ve skipped meals because of it.
So how are these kids managing the stress they experience?
Even though these kids report high levels of stress and stress related symptoms, they also state that they don’t know how to effectively manage their stress. According to the APA study, teens report many teens turn to sedentary activities to cope with the stress they are experiencing. For example, 46 percent of teens report playing video games to manage stress, 43 percent surf the Internet or go online, and 36 percent use watching television or movies for stress management.
Given these findings, it is clear that we need to teach our children early on about the effects of stress and also how to effectively cope with the symptoms of stress.
I created this Stress Management Activity Bundle as a tool for parents, teachers, and counselors to use to educate children about what stress is and how they can effectively manage stress with positive coping skills.
Included in this bundle are worksheets, activities, and games that give children an opportunity to role play stressful situations, discuss common stressors for kids and teens, and also explore coping strategies to help them manage their stress in a positive manner.
If you are interested in more stress management resources for children, please follow me on Pinterest!