Even though they don’t have jobs and mortgages as we do, kids still face a lot of pressure from school, friendships, and other challenges. Having a child is both an exciting and a demanding experience, which is why as a parent you are so important to them in their development. We have some tips below on how to spot burnout in your child. Also, what burnout is and how you can help restore the energy and enthusiasm back into your beautiful child.
Introduction: What Are the Signs of Burnout in Kids?
Burnout is a state of exhaustion. It can happen to anyone, but it's more common in people who work long hours or are overworked. Some of the signs of burnout in kids are as follows.
- Loss of interest in activities you know they enjoy
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Irritability or anger
- Frequent laziness or fatigue
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of interest in self-care
The Difference Between Burnout and Depression in Children
Although it is hard to differentiate between the two, it is thought that there is a difference in what causes burnout and depression. Burnout is a state of exhaustion that can be caused by feeling overworked, undervalued, and feeling like you’re not achieving anything. Depression, on the other hand, is also a serious condition that is usually caused by more than one issue.
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In children, burnout is typically caused by stress from school-related activities and responsibilities. Depression in children can be caused by burnout plus a long list of other life events that affect the child.
The Devastating Effects of Stress on Children
Children who have experienced stress are more likely to struggle with their school and social lives. They are more subjectable to suffer from a mental illness.
The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child has found that children who are exposed to chronic stress are more likely to have lower cognitive abilities and suffer from a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
There is also evidence that chronic stress can alter the normal development of the brain, leading to changes in behavior, learning, and memory.
Stress Management Techniques Every Parent Should Know
One of the most important things that a parent can do for their child is to take care of themselves. Stress management techniques are an essential part of this process. By taking care of yourself, you are showing your child that making an effort in one's self is important and worth it.
It’s not always easy for parents to find time for themselves, but it is critical to their mental health and the well-being of their children. So, here are some stress management techniques every parent should know.
1. Yoga: Yoga has been shown to reduce stress levels in adults and children alike, and it is also a great way to get kids into exercise as they grow up. Plus, it's an opportunity to spend time together.
2. Meditation: Meditation has been shown to increase feelings of happiness and reduce anxiety - both things that are important for parents who want to provide the best environment for their little people.
3. Empathy: Understanding their point of view is paramount if you’re going to successfully help your little ones. Try to see life from their angle. The stresses of growing up in today’s world will be different from the stresses of growing up when you or I were young!
How to Restore Energy During Burnout
Burnout can be a lot for you to handle alone. Teach your child how to recharge when they're feeling drained by begging off from responsibilities and engaging in an activity that nourishes them, like drawing, reading a story, or playing with a pet. Try these methods.
1. Cut back. It can be a good idea to run your child's schedule more efficiently. Encourage them to participate socially and academically, but give them time to enjoy sports and activities.
2. Prioritize sleep. Big changes are happening to children as they grow up in a digital world. Lack of sleep can have a drastic impact on their physical, mental and behavioral health. They need nine to twelve hours of sleep each night for good cognitive performance – so it’s absolutely crucial that kids aged six to twelve get the recommended amount without fail.
3. Eat healthily. Kids can be hard to please when it comes to food, but that doesn’t mean they should be denied nutritious choices. Complex carbohydrates, nuts, and foods high in calcium can help reduce stress. There are plenty of blogs that will give you ideas on how to make a vegetable more attractive to a child. One of my favorite articles can be found here https://bountyfromthebox.com/making-vegetables-attractive-to-children
4. Work out. There are many constructive ways to deal with pressure. One of them is physical activity: go for a walk or take your kids to their local gym for a family fitness class, go bike riding before dinner, or enjoy both at the same time in some cases!
5. Practice self-care. To teach your child how to care for themselves, consider exposing them to self-care and at-home methods like yoga. These are a few ways you can help teach self-care skills.
How to Build and Maintain Connections
Prevent burnout by encouraging your child to foster a sense of community and get engaged in activities. They'll be better equipped to manage themselves if they know how to motivate themselves and seek support from others.
Keep these ideas in mind:
1. Offer choices. Burnout often means that you lose control of things. If your child is feeling burnt out, give them some choices about what to do first or choose a snack for themselves.
2. Play around. Children sometimes tend to buckle under pressure if they are constantly told they need to perform or they can't compare themselves with others. Games without any rules and no final score might help them lighten up and enjoy themselves more.
3. Make art. Encourage your child's creativity. Crafts are a good way to take their mind off the things that worry them and reassure them about themselves. Coloring-in is one of the most fantastic ways to help your child relax. Coloring-in an image is a process that develops decision-making; they need to choose colors. It promotes creativity but also helps them recognize shapes and objects.
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4. Monitor media consumption. CNN and other media outlets are often distracting and upsetting to listen to, especially when it comes to stressful news. Keep your family happy by giving them a break from jobs that may stress out their day. Pay attention to your children's surroundings, like the TV in public places and stores, because hearing about tragic events can be traumatic for them too.
The Problem With Too Much Screen Time
It is well-known that too much screen time is not good for our health. However, the problem with this is that we are all addicted to screens - from smartphones to TV. The average American spends 5 hours a day on their smartphone and 2 hours watching TV. We need to find ways to reduce our screen time in order to improve our health, but with so many screens around us, it can be difficult.
5. Prepare for life events. Children can be more vulnerable in periods of change. Having a routine can help them feel safe and secure.
6. Provide a role model. Dealing with stress has a huge impact on the well-being and development of your child. Maintaining a positive attitude and healthy lifestyle is always encouraged, even when you’re recovering from remote working and hybrid learning.
7. Talk about emotions. It will help to show your child that it's okay if they feel angry or sad. Try helping them to express their feelings and get it out of their system. Spend some quality time with them on a regular basis and it will become easier to talk about sensitive subjects.
Conclusion: Start Helping Your Child with Their Stress Now so They Don't Have To Deal with This as Adults
When it comes to stress, the most important thing you can do is to take care of your own health. Stress is not something you can control, but it is something you can manage. Keep an eye out for symptoms of burnout in your child, such as insomnia, irritability, or withdrawal from favorite activities. With the right support, you can help them get back to feeling better and get their childhood back on track.