Kids are like little sponges. They soak up the environments around them, even if they don't realize what they're taking in.
In some cases, this is good. Modeling proper behavior for your children will help them to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.
However, that's not always possible. We all have stress in our lives and sometimes it's just too much to take. As parents, you may unintentionally express relationship, money or career troubles -- which your kids pick up on. Mark Menolascino, MD, says they may absorb tension even if it's not outwardly revealed.
It's important to pay attention to any clues your little ones are giving you, especially if they're too young to inform you what they're feeling. Symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, dizziness, a racing heart, trouble sleeping, changes in school grades or disrupted friendships are all indications that something is off.
Dr. Menolascino advises avoiding prescription medication when possible and trying other remedies first. For example, take a hard look at your lifestyle. Do you need to pump the brakes? Parents and kids alike are over-scheduled. What is one thing you can take off your collective plates to reduce stress? Also, eat meals together as much as you can and focus on positive conversation.
Another tip is to watch your exposure (and your kids' exposure) to the news and social media. It's okay for them to be informed, but turning on the news first thing in the morning can be detrimental. Instead, wake up and reflect on something you're thankful for -- and encourage your kids to do the same. Even the smallest moments provide those essential "warm fuzzies."
Getting more movement into your day also eases anxiety and stress. We all know the simple things like parking farther away from the store doors or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Find other ways, like taking a dance break. Dr. Menolascino explains that exercise has beat out medication in many clinical trials when it comes to anxiety and depression.
Listen as Dr. Menolascino joins Dr. Bond to discuss how stress and anxiety is impacting your little ones and how you can address the problem before it gets out of control.