GROWING HEALTHY KIDS: WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Stress and Kids
“I believe dancing is the best stress reliever.”
School is starting
soon. Another school year living
in the COVID-19 pandemic and life is going to get weird and possibly dangerous,
especially now with the highly contagious Delta variant which targets
As you know, there is no COVID vaccine – yet – for kids under 12
years of age. Our children are now among
the most vulnerable to become infected and sick, some so sick they may be
hospitalized, and some may die.
This pandemic and its impact on children and schools is a
huge deal and getting worse due to the number of unvaccinated people. What we can do as parents, school teachers
and administrators is work to ensure that kids have a delicious, healthy dinner
with their family, down time in the evenings, at least an hour before bedtime without
electronics, get a good night’s sleep.
Be mindful that your kiddos may be stressed and keep an eye out for
changes such as:
- unusual or new behaviors such as not engaging with family
- being withdrawn,
- spending more time alone,
- taking more risk-taking behaviors,
- talking back to a parent,
- lack of concentration or focus,
- avoiding sports,
- starting smoking or drinking alcohol, or
- talking about self-harm.
Our children are embarking on a new school year in
the midst of a once-in-a-hundred years pandemic. They will experience stress. Some will need professional help.
School teachers and counselors can help keep an eye on your kids. If you have a
concern, talk with school staff. Seek out mental health resources in your school or community.
Stress contributes to overeating, anxiety, and sleep
disturbances which can all be risk factors for childhood obesity.
With the constant news about the pandemic that kids are
likely to hear, whether or not you know it because kids are little sponges, parents
need to be on guard. We need to be
hyper-vigilant for the sake of our children’s health –and their very lives.
Everyone has stress, right? You drive in traffic, you have stress. Kids have a test coming up, they have
stress. What matters is our response to
stress. Take extra good care of yourself
so you can take extra good care of your children in this uncharted time.
With love and kindness,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect