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 or 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, always 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 a healthy, well-balanced diet, and getting enough of their daily recommended nutrients!
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.
Signs of distress in a toddler/child include:
- Being fearful at bedtime and experiencing nightmares.
- Physical pain.
- Irregular emotional patterns.
- Irregular sleeping and eating habits.
- 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, childrens’ bodies are generally depleted on a regular basis. Kids are active! Many kids are high energy, and this leaves their young, growing bodies exhausted by the end of the day. It’s important to remember that a child’s body cannot and should not have to handle the amount of physical stress that adults put on their bodies. A child’s body is still developing and is much weaker and prone to injury and exhaustion.
Need a little guidance when it comes to feeding your kids a well-balanced diet? Fortunately, children need the same basic nutrients that adults do (protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) but in different doses. Just as equally as important, you should avoid feeding children foods with saturated fat and added sugar.
My functional sports recovery facility, R3, offers multiple treatments for its members when it comes to sports recovery, and many of our clients include children! Children, as well as adolescents, are susceptible to sports injuries that require proper recovery protocols and treatment.
My advice to you? Stay aware of how your child is acting, do your research, and consult with medical professionals prior to seeking treatment (if necessary). Each child is situational and not every child will need the same treatments or meet the requirements for treatments. Prioritize their health over all else, and allow them to have a well-balanced life filled with activities -- and lots of sleep.