So also when I realized some even more interesting things about my kids' stress.
I asked the question, how does stress effect them, and what does their stress look like? Conversely, how do I reduce their stress?
I found answers that encouraged me, alarmed me, and inspired me to be more alert to all of our stress levels.
First, let me say that I have seen stressed out kids. I have seen kids that are insecure, they literally shake with anxiety, they worry more than kids should ..and its heartbreaking. My kids dont do that, but I see that they still do carry some stress that they display a little differently.
Then, here are some things I picked up on as a evidence of their stress ...
- Fit throwing ..both more than their usual personalities
- Mean to siblings, or friends
- Discipline issues
- Physical aggression
Somethings I have noted that cause them stress ...
- Lack of proper sleep
- Lack of proper rest (this may not be sleep, but just quiet)
- Too busy of a schedule
- Lack of consistant discipline
- Lack of routine (kids thrive on knowing what to expect!)
- MY stress stresses my kids
- Yelling (this one makes me sad ...and I have to work on it)
- Lack of healthy eating (especially protein intake)
- Too much sugar (this one is big for my kids!)
- Lack of one-on-one time
- Clutter in their spaces (I was little shocked by that one!)
- My being on the phone or the internet
Its amazing, to note that when my kids have these stressors our discipline issues greatly increase. I can just about promise you if Ty is being especially hard to get along with, I have not given him the time he needs today. If they are getting hard to manage in public, could it be you need to be home more? If they are getting really whiney, consider if they have eaten, when and what? Dont forget water!
Think about what stress does to you, then imagine that your precious babies are feeling that same feeling. Is there something that I can do, or NOT do that will keep that from happening?
How often does YOUR stress effect them? Think about that bad day, that day you are feeling bad or are overwhelmed...where are the kids? what are they doing? what are they experiencing when they watch you in that state?
I for one, feel more motivated to keep my stress under control!
Some things I have considered to help their stress levels ...
- Control mine.
- Keep a schedule that allows them proper naps/quiet time
- Make sure they get proper meals, and fluid intake
- Make sure to schedule one-on-one times
- Consistant discipline ..if you say it, then follow through
- Keep a routine they can count on ..we make sure to do all our running around in the morning, so we can count on afternoon at home.
- Order in their spaces (its weird, but they seem more calm when they know where their things are, and where they go when they are done playing)
- Using calm words, controlling my voice
- THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO RELIEVE THEIR STRESS...PLAY WITH THEM!
I know that I fall into the temptation of thinking being home is enough. I have to remind myself (or they will remind me!) that I need to really BE there, with them..one on one, eyeball to eyeball, skin to skin, toy to hand.
Remember, they are our purpose. NOTHING is more important than this job we have to do. NOTHING on your list is more important than those precious moments when you forget the dishes and play trains with your little boy. Your little girl will not forget the time you played tea party, dressup or make over (but not if the laundry is done).
One more thing, if you are aware of your kids love language then use that as a very useful way to reducing stress. Does focused time with your kids make a noted difference? Then set the timer for 15 minutes, and give it to them. Does touch create a connection with your babies? Then touch them every chance you can get, set the timer for 15 minutes and cuddle while you read a book.
On days when they are driving you the most crazy, grab them up, consider their stress, and DESTRESS them.
Its energy worth using. Its time you cant get back...dont waste it on stress, for you or your kids!