Nowadays, it’s extremely prevalent for children of all ages to feel an immense amount of pressure, whether that be in school, extracurricular activities, within their peer groups, or at home. This pressure to perform to the best of their abilities academically, personally, and within sports or other activities, impacts children’s minds and bodies greatly. However, there are thankfully signs that a parent/guardian can look out for, and more importantly, there are solutions. If you see that your child is in distress, it is your responsibility to find out what may be wrong and to find a solution.
1. What are the signs that a child is in distress?
First and foremost, make sure to be on the lookout for any changes in behavioral, sleeping and/or eating patterns. An obvious and sudden change in behavior is often a sign that something is going on and that your child is acting out (or isolating themselves) for a particular reason.
Additionally, if you notice that your child is not getting enough sleep or food and appears to be lacking energy, it doesn’t hurt to take your child to a trusted doctor in order to find out what may be going on. Also, make sure that your kids are consuming enough nutritional value daily! (Find out how much nutrition is recommended for children in the next paragraph). Kids are dealing with more than a lot of us may realize -- especially in the age of technology and social media. The most important thing a parent or guardian should do is to remain observant and watch out for any signs of distress.
According to this article from Parents.com, additional signs of distress in a toddler/child include:
- Being fearful at bedtime and experiencing nightmares.
- Physical pain.
- A change in their bowel movements.
- Newly adapted movements and tics.
2. What are the solutions?
There are many different solutions, one being to remain hypervigilant, of course, and to comfort your child as well. Ask what is stressing them out and overwhelming them; maintain a sense of communication as much as possible with your child. Lighten their load of activities if necessary or at the very least make sure that they have enough time to recover and rejuvenate after an exhausting sport’s practice or after an injury. Yes, much like adults, children need to recover from sports and exercise as well. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep and proper nutrition -- their mental and physical states should always be prioritized.
Furthermore, a lot of childrens’ bodies, on top of a deteriorating mental state, are depleted. It’s important to remember that a child’s body can’t and shouldn’t have to handle the amount of physical stress adults put on their bodies. A child’s body is still developing and is much weaker/prone to injury and exhaustion. An extremely important task for a parent or guardian is to keep track of your child’s daily nutritional consumption.
According to this article from the Mayo Clinic, children need the same basic nutrients that adults do (protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) but in different doses. Just as equally as important, the article states to avoid giving your child foods with saturated fat and added sugar. Lastly, the article covers exactly what amount is recommended for each particular age range.
Additionally, R3 offers multiple treatments for its members when it comes to sports recovery. Children, as well as adolescents, are susceptible to sports injuries that require proper recovery protocols and treatment.
In conclusion, stay aware of how your child is acting and do a lot of research! Each child is situational and not every child will need the same treatments or meet the requirements for treatments. Prioritize their health over all of the things you want them to do and allow them to have a well-balanced life filled with activities but also lots and lots of sleep.