The new normal of coronavirus has created a stressful environment for everyone. We all are creatures of habit and having that interrupted can increase the level of stress. This is especially the case for our children. The uncertainty and potential dangers of this pandemic can raise the stress level of our children to potentially dangerous levels. For children that may be on the autism spectrum, the structure of the classroom gave them a safe environment and a sense of comfort. If only there was a way to help our kids cope with this increased stress. We here at HPFY can give you some tools to help to potentially lower the stress level our children might be experiencing.
Identifying Stress in Children
As adults, we know how to identify stress in us, but do we know the symptoms of stress in our children? Children process stress by a sudden change in behavior. This can often manifest itself in the form of temper tantrums or an increase in apathy towards everything or even a change in their sleep patterns. Some behaviors to keep an eye out for include:
Appetite Change: Much like in adults, when stressed children can overeat or indulge in “comfort foods” and other unhealthy options.
No School, No Way: A repetitive refusal to go to school might be an indication that someone or something at school is stressing them. Schoolwork, bad grades, and even bullies can turn a social event like seeing your friends into a stressful, anxiety-riddled event.
Headache without Cause: If your child repeatedly complains of a headache and your pediatrician cannot find a cause, stress, and anxiety may be the culprit. In the United States approximately 20% of children experience headaches and stress is the major trigger.
Upset Stomach: Unpleasant tasks have a negative effect on our tummies. The enteric nervous system (digestive system nerves) reacts to stress just like our brains do and can lead to a tummy ache. This can be caused by the stress itself or even overeating unhealthy food.
Nervous Tics: Stress can be a trigger for physical tics or escalate the severity of existing ones. These are repeated movements or noises that children make when they are under stress and feel anxiety. Your child may start blinking, clenching fists, clicking, or even moaning when they feel anxious.
In today’s coronavirus world, parents have to deal with their stress while also identifying and soothing the anxiety and stress of their children. Parenting is a full-time job!! Easing the stress and anxiety of our children can include aids such as:
Weighted Blanket: These blankets envelop children (especially those on the autism spectrum) with soft, weighted security. This comes with weighted slots so you can dial in the amount that works for your child.
Skil-Care Pediatric Weighted Lap Pads: Providing a secure and grounded feeling, these vinyl covered pads are easily cleaned with wipes or a disinfectant spray and can calm restless leg syndrome and children who have a hard time sitting still.
Sommerfly Wrap Arounds Weighted Sashes: Stress can make it difficult for children to focus. These sashes can be worn one at a time or crisscrossed together in order to help children focus on their intended activities. These are a cooler alternative to weighted vests.
Weighted Hand Writing Glove: The wearer of this glove receives proprioceptive input and compression when using it for fine motor skill activities. It is fingerless, so it is not restrictive and is reversible so it can be worn on either hand.
Therafin Pressure Vest: Autistic children benefit from a schedule and routines in order to avoid anxiety. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has disrupted that. This vest applies constant pressure to aid in sensory stability for autistic children. Made from comfortable neoprene and finished edges, it can be fitted easily and quickly to each child.
Yes, we need to make sure our children feel safe and happy, but what about mom and dad? In order to create an environment that is stress and anxiety-free, we need to make sure that we parents feel safe and as stress-free as possible. It is truly amazing how intuitive our children can be!! If they see us stressed and freak out, so will they. Parents should take advantage of:
Sommerfly Relaxer Travel -Sized -Weighted Blanket: This portable weighted blanket is ideal for adults who need to wind down from a stressful day or after a trip to the dentist. Made from 100% cotton and in the USA, the innovative design allows this blanket to lay on the lap and chest and over the shoulders for stress-reducing pressure.
Levata Weighted Blanket:Levata Weighted Blanket promotes a therapeutic technique called deep pressure stimulation. This technique is used to relax the nervous system. The Levata blanket is a 20 lbs high-quality weighted blanket designed to softly and comfortably reduce stress while enhancing sleep quality.
Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Car Diffuser: Scent is a powerful relaxation tool. The use of aromatherapy has been around for a very long time. Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Car Diffuser can be plugged into your car's lighter outlet and uses low heat levels to volatilize the essential oils. It is simple to use and perfect for improving your mood, and necessary for centering your life. This car diffuser provides aroma-therapeutic benefits for the mind, body, and spirit for up to three hours. Also, it transforms your driving routine into a rejuvenating experience.
These confusing times are equally if not more confusing and stressful to our children. Finding ways to make them feel safe and comfortable is our job as parents and adults. In order to do this, we must be sure to create anxiety and stress-free environment in our homes when possible. Our children are sponges and how they see us react under stress can be mimicked. Monkey see monkey do!!
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
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