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Are Your Kids Stressed?

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Are Your Kids Stressed?

    It’s common to hear adults talking about how stressed or overwhelmed they are, but do we hear from our children how they feel? Research finds that between 8 and 10% of North American children are seriously troubled by stress.

    I’ll never forget a class meeting I shared with my students some 6 years ago. The students were discussing their feelings and all but 1 boy said, “I’m so stressed!” They were 8 and 9 years old. Probing them further, I asked, “Why?” Here is the short list of reasons they mentioned:

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    1. Too much homework (I must note that they mentioned subjects areas
    outside of what I taught since I was always conscious about how much I
    have and NEVER gave any over the weekends.)

    2. Sibling Arguments

    3. Too many extra-curricular activities ie. feeling overscheduled

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    4. Parent expectations

    5. Home problems

    6. Stressed out parents always yelling

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    It broke my heart to see these young souls sharing their stories of stress.

    The only boy that day who wasn’t stressed called out emotionally, “I’m allowed to be a kid!” The room went silent. I asked him what he meant. He replied, still very emotional, “I get home from school, take a shower, put on my pajamas, do my homework, eat dinner, play or read then go to bed. I’m allowed to be a kid, Mrs. Kurt.” He was so right.

    Today, our children sleep fewer hours, play fewer hours and spend time by themselves fewer hours than ever before. The result is that they are stressed, even children as young as 3 research shows! One researcher, Dr. Kim Payne, was shocked to return to the United States after having lived and worked in war torn countries helping children cope with post-traumatic stress. What he found was that North American children were exhibiting the same physical and emotional signs of stress as the children in the war torn countries.

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    How can you tell if your child is stressed? Here are some signs to look for:

    Physical:

    * reoccurring headaches, neckaches or backaches
    * nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomachache
    * shaky hands, sweaty palms
    * bed wetting
    * trouble sleeping/nightmares
    * change in appetite
    * frequent colds, fatigue

    Emotional or Behavioural:

    * new or reoccurring fears; anxiety and worries
    * trouble concentrating; frequent daydreaming
    * restlessness, irritability
    * social withdrawal, unwillingness to participate in school or

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    Family Activities:
    * moodiness
    * nail biting, thumb sucking, hair twirling, foot tapping
    * acting out, anger, tantrums
    * regression to baby-like behaviours
    * excessive whining or crying
    * clinginess, won’t let you out of site

    The best thing you can do is to discover the reason behind your child’s stress and then put a few things in place to improve the current dynamics. The step-by-step solutions will be discussed fully in my next article, going up tomorrow morning!

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2021

    The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

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    The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

    Camping can be hard work, but it’s the preparation that’s even harder. There are usually a lot of things to do in order to make sure that you and your family or friends have the perfect camping experience. But sometimes you might get to your destination and discover that you have left out one or more crucial things.

    There is no dispute that preparation and organization for a camping trip can be quite overwhelming, but if it is done right, you would see at the end of the day, that it was worth the stress. This is why it is important to ensure optimum planning and execution. For this to be possible, it is advised that in addition to a to-do-list, you should have a camping checklist to remind you of every important detail.

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    Why You Should Have a Camping Checklist

    Creating a camping checklist makes for a happy and always ready camper. It also prevents mishaps.  A proper camping checklist should include every essential thing you would need for your camping activities, organized into various categories such as shelter, clothing, kitchen, food, personal items, first aid kit, informational items, etc. These categories should be organized by importance. However, it is important that you should not list more than you can handle or more than is necessary for your outdoor adventure.

    Camping checklists vary depending on the kind of camping and outdoor activities involved. You should not go on the internet and compile a list of just any camping checklist. Of course, you can research camping checklists, but you have to put into consideration the kind of camping you are doing. It could be backpacking, camping with kids, canoe camping, social camping, etc. You have to be specific and take note of those things that are specifically important to your trip, and those things which are generally needed in all camping trips no matter the kind of camping being embarked on.

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    Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next camping trip.

    1. First off, you must have found the perfect campground that best suits your outdoor adventure. If you haven’t, then you should. Sites like Reserve America can help you find and reserve a campsite.
    2. Find or create a good camping checklist that would best suit your kind of camping adventure.
    3. Make sure the whole family is involved in making out the camping check list or downloading a proper checklist that reflects the families need and ticking off the boxes of already accomplished tasks.
    4. You should make out or download a proper checklist months ahead of your trip to make room for adjustments and to avoid too much excitement and the addition of unnecessary things.
    5. Checkout Camping Hacks that would make for a more fun camping experience and prepare you for different situations.

    Now on to the checklist!

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    Here is how your checklist should look

    1. CAMPSITE GEAR

    • Tent, poles, stakes
    • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
    • Extra tarp or canopy
    • Sleeping bag for each camper
    • Sleeping pad for each camper
    • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
    • Pillows
    • Extra blankets
    • Chairs
    • Headlamps or flashlights ( with extra batteries)
    • Lantern
    • Lantern fuel or batteries

    2.  KITCHEN

    • Stove
    • Fuel for stove
    • Matches or lighter
    • Pot
    • French press or portable coffee maker
    • Corkscrew
    • Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
    • Food-storage containers
    • Trash bags
    • Cooler
    • Ice
    • Water bottles
    • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
    • Cups, mugs
    • Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
    • Cutting board
    • Foil
    • soap
    • Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
    • Paper towels
    • Extra bin for washing dishes

    3. CLOTHES

    • Clothes for daytime
    • Sleepwear
    • Swimsuits
    • Rainwear
    • Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
    • Extra layers for warmth
    • Gloves
    • Hats

    4. PERSONAL ITEMS

    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
    • First-aid kit
    • Prescription medications
    • Toothbrush, toiletries
    • Soap

    5. OTHER ITEMS

    • Camera
    • Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
    • Maps, area information

    This list is not completely exhaustive. To make things easier, you can check specialized camping sites like RealSimpleRainyAdventures, and LoveTheOutdoors that have downloadable camping checklists that you can download on your phone or gadget and check as you go.

    Featured photo credit: Scott Goodwill via unsplash.com

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