More tips from Dr. Nelson
Decreasing Stress in Everyday Life
- Have regular conversations with your children to keep your pulse on their emotional lives. More effortful leading questions, such as “What did you like about XYZ?” communicates more parental interest and investment more than the routine “How was your day?”
- Facilitate adequate sleep and sleep habits: 8 to 10 hours a night recommended for teenagers, 9 to 11 hours for school-aged children, and 10-13 hours for preschoolers (Sleep Foundation; AAP, 2014)
- Family meals minus electronics communicates people and quality conversation are important.
- Research also supports meaningful family meals are beneficial in child development, promotes prosocial behaviors, school success skills, good eating habits, well-being, and helps children avoid later negative and high-risk behaviors (Fruh et al., 2011; Center for Families).
- Prioritize extracurricular activities based on the child’s enjoyment, interest, and skill development, not competition, parental motivation or “everybody’s doing it.”
- Provide family leisure time for togetherness and rejuvenation.
- Provide your child with developmentally appropriate “alone-time” to learn to self-manage, self-entertain, and self-soothe - all skills important in managing stress.