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8 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Stress

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: Stress can be found in children as much as in adults. How do you know when to step in and help?
Air Date: 5/5/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Adelle Cadieux, MD
CadieuxDr. Cadieux provides evaluation treatment and psychological testing for children and adolescents at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

She has a special interest in treating children with eating disorders.

Prior experience includes tenure at Holland Hospital, Northern Michigan Community Health and Ionia County Mental Health.

She earned a master's degree and doctorate in psychology from Central Michigan University. She holds a bachelor's degree from Grand Valley State University.

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is West Michigan's largest children's hospital, serving children and families throughout a 37-county region. A teaching hospital, it includes more than 150 pediatric specialty physicians uniquely skilled in providing medical and surgical care to children in more than 40 pediatric specialties.

The hospital cares for more than 7,600 inpatients and 190,000 outpatients annually. Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is committed to caring for children and families with compassion, excellence and innovation.
 8 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Stress
Stress happens in your world whether you want it to or not.

Stress can come from work, school or relationships. You may think that adults are the only ones who are capable of becoming stressed and that your child's life is happy and carefree.

Sometimes, however, stress can come from within and can easily be found in children as much as it is in adults.

Children who first leave home to go to school can go through separation anxiety, encounter bullying or have a harder time following school curriculum. All of these factors can lead to varying levels of stress.

How can you help your child if you're noticing signs of stress?

It's important that you set up a healthy, positive environment, starting with the food your child is eating. The food kids eat, just like the food you eat, helps fuel their little bodies and brains to get through a busy day.

Another important tip is to make sure your children are getting enough sleep. Even though they may argue about what time they want to go to bed, children and teenagers require more sleep than adults.

A way to help your child reduce stress is through physical activity. This can vary depending on how old your child is, but can be as simple as riding bikes after school or playing in a park district sports league.

There's no denying that children are observers of their environment, which means whatever habits you have, your child is likely to mimic them. If you handle stress badly by becoming overly frustrated and upset, your child will think that's the proper way to deal with stress.

What about the use of technology?

Even though your child may have to use the computer for homework, it's still important that you limit the amount of technology your child is using. Overuse of cell phones and social networking can disrupt sleep, cause distractions and limit physical activity.

What are other ways to help your child cope with stress?

Adelle Cadieux, PsyD, joins Melanie Cole, MS, to discuss why your kids are so stressed, as well as share eight ways to help your child cope with stress.

8 ways to help your child cope with stress:
  • Provide your child with healthy meals and snacks
  • Help your child get adequate sleep
  • Be active as a family together
  • Be a positive role model by showing effective coping skills
  • Help children learn from their experiences
  • Have clear limits and expectations
  • Reduce technology for kids and for parents
  • Maintain a schedule that helps to balance demands.

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