Disclosure: Today’s conversation on how to reduce stress to improve health for you and your child is sponsored by Stress Health Now. While we received compensation for this post, thoughts and opinions are our own!
How to Identify and Reduce Stress to Improve Your Child’s Health
Raise our hand if you’ve ever experienced stress (every hand should raise).
We’ve all felt it.
We all know what it means.
We often vent about how much stress we are experiencing at any given time, and generally are able to easily find a friend or loved one who is able to relate to our struggle.
The thing that doesn’t get talked about often, however, is how stress impacts our children. StressHealthNow.com is changing that!
What is Toxic Stress, and Why Does It Matter?
Just like people, stress is diverse. It comes in many different levels and often presents in different people in different ways. Just as adults don’t react the same to stress, children don’t either. Stress is an inevitable experience for humans, and in some cases, it can even be healthy to learn how to manage our emotions and reactions under a reasonable amount of stress.
Some stress, however, isn’t easily “managed” and doesn’t just “pass”. In fact, some types of stress affect us over our entire lifetime. These stressors impact our quality of life, our relationships, and our physical and mental health. They increase the list of things like heart disease, cancer, suicide, opioid addiction, and more. Educating yourself on what toxic stress looks like is imperative in helping your children manage and reduce stressors in their lives. In fact, you can reduce stress to improve health for your entire family!
Identifying ACEs for you and your child
Events that contribute to these types of stressors have, in recent years, been identified as ACEs (Accelerated Childhood Experiences). Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful events in a child or adolescent’s life (Felitti et al., 1998).
They are quite common, and most American’s have experienced at least one ACE in their lifetime.
Take the ACE Quiz here to identify ACEs in your child’s life, and in your own!
The more ACEs people are exposed to, the higher the risk of the negative consequences mentioned above. The good news is that advancements in science and mental health have provided us with much more information on how to identify and reduces ACEs in our children! There are positive changes you can make in your routine and parenting styles TODAY that can aid in turning the stress response down and reducing the potential negative effects of ACEs.
Ways to Reduce Stress to Improve Health
Increase Exercise: In addition to the obvious benefits to physical health, exercise also helps children to lower their stress and increase their focus in school. Get your family outdoors and moving as often as possible.
Improve Nutrition: We all need to eat. What we eat, and how we address meals can be a key component in reducing stress. We can do this by making mealtime fun! Allowing your child to take place in conversations about the groceries you buy, shopping for groceries, planting a garden together, and even enlisting their help in preparing meals are all great ways to improve your family’s approach to nutrition.
With all the choices out there in food products, knowing what to choose to provide nutrients to your family can be difficult. The thing is, change doesn’t need to be drastic. Even small changes in your family’s eating habits can make a huge impact on overall health!
Change the conversation: I’ll be the first to admit that parenting can sometimes be difficult. Regulating emotions can be difficult for children, and even for adults. It’s often a natural reaction to demand that our children stop when they are crying, or expressing their feelings in other ways.
By slowing things down a bit and taking a few extra moments to talk to our child and help them learn to explore and manage their emotions: these moments of frustration can often be reduced, and the moment can become an opportunity for learning and bonding.
If we expect to teach our children to properly regulate their emotions when faced with stress, it’s important that we know how to do it ourselves! Mindfulness exercises are a great way to start practicing WITH your children. They don’t require extra tools or supplies. Try the exercise below today!
Advancements in mental and physical health are happening daily! As we learn more about how our body and minds work, we become better equipped to improve our own health and the health of our children! For more information on toxic stress, and tools and resources to help you reduce stress and improve health for your child (and you as well!); visit www.StressHealthNow.com, and be sure to follow the Stress Health Now Facebook Page and join the newsletter to stay in the loop.
Reference: Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., . . . Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. Am J Prev Med, 14(4), 245-258.
What ways do you help reduce stress to improve health for you and your family? Drop a comment below!