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Are Your Kids Stressed?

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

    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 June 13, 2019

    5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

    5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

    Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

    You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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    1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

    It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

    Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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    2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

    If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

    3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

    If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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    4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

    A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

    5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

    If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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    Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

    Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

    Reference

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