We normally associate stress with a negative feeling. But according to studies, they are not necessarily correlative concepts. In fact, there are 2 types of stress.
Eustress is “good” stress. This is the kind of stress arising from a pleasantly competitive environment. The most common example is the stress a child feels in sports. This creates a healthy feeling brought about by games, practices and competitions.
Distress, on the other hand, is the natural response when a child feels threatened or overwhelmed. This is unhealthy stress.
The most common source of child distress is being in too many activities that s/he loses time to just do nothing or play without the confines of instructions from teachers or coaches. “Nothing time” develops creativity and if a child does not have this, it stumps ingenuity and imagination.
Children need time to breathe which they cannot do if they are being shuttled from one endeavor to the next. This leads to exhaustion. Furthermore, involvement in too many sports, for instance, results in too much competitiveness which in the long run is unhealthy in a child’s personality.
Knowledge of stress of children is important because the parents may not easily discern that their child is already suffering from distress and what the possible source is. More often, parents enroll their children in various activities because of good intentions, however misguided it may be. They somehow think that if they just let them stay in the house, then they are not doing their jobs as parents.
What then can be done if your child is already stressed?
- Lessen the activities s/he is involved in or decrease the time spent for each of the activity s/he is currently doing.
- Spend more time with your children just hanging out or lounging around.
- Give them time to read or color or do a puzzle on their own or go biking around the neighborhood with their friends.
Just because children as still young doesn’t mean they don’t experience stress yet. Make sure that you provide a comfortable and stress-free environment to your children to ensure that they are living relaxed, happily, and peacefully.