Childhood is more complicated today than it has ever been before. Kids of all ages have a lot more to worry about than what they might find down by the creek and whether they’ll make it home in time for dinner or not.
Children face a lot of adult-like challenges, but helping them deal with those challenges can be hard, especially if you aren’t sure what kind of emotions your child is experiencing!
Here are five common challenges that children face today, along with a few tips for helping your child face those challenges head-on.
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The carefree childhood you remember or your parents talked about is long gone. Children deal with more expectations than ever before today, and as they pile up, it’s easy for them to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
There are many things you can do to help your child cope with stress, but in today’s overscheduled world, one of the best things you can do for your child is to free up a small portion of their day. Many children become stressed and overwhelmed trying to keep up with school work while participating in multiple activities and sports. If your child is busy all day, every day, eliminate at least one activity so they can have some more free time.
Depression used to be an adult problem. Today, it’s becoming an increasingly bigger problem for younger and younger children. It is important to become familiar with the symptoms of childhood depression so you can jump in and help your child at the first sign of trouble.
If your child’s depression is sparked by a life event or a class at school, easing symptoms may be as easy as problem solving what caused the depression in the first place. However, if your child’s depression is caused by other factors that are out of your hands or their hands, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a therapist.
Treatment for children with depression is similar to that of adults. With therapy and possible medication, you can help your child get rid of the cloud that hangs over their head.
Lack of Sleep
Lack of sleep is a huge problem among young children. Not only can it impact physical health, it can impact mental health as well, which means many of the other challenges on this list can be amplified when a child isn’t getting enough sleep.
First, it’s important to know how much sleep your child needs. Elementary-aged children need different amounts of sleep compared to middle and high school students.
Once you’ve determined how much sleep your kid needs, you can create a new bedtime and encourage your child to get quality sleep by:
- Keeping screens, including phones, out of the bedroom
- Creating a dark, quiet space for them to sleep
- Getting a new mattress or pillows
- Allowing them to bring water to bed
- Serving them a small snack
Uncertainty can wreak havoc on a child’s peace of mind. Unfortunately, there’s more uncertainty now than there has ever been before. With the world news reporting on climate change, natural disasters, terrorism, and more, it’s easy for children to feel scared about the world they live in. Helping kids deal with uncertainty includes listening to their fears and problem solving things they can do to make a difference in their own community.
Eliminating the uncertainty at home can help a lot too. When the world seems like such a scary place, it’s especially important for children to know they can predict what will happen when they get home at the end of the day.
Peer pressure is something children have dealt with for a very long time, but it has really ramped up within the last few decades thanks to technology. Children are no longer dealing with peer pressure at school only. They’re interacting with their peers from home, which means peer pressure is always there.
Talking with your child about things they can actually do to resist peer pressure can really help, as many kids simply don’t know how to say no. Take time to get to know your child’s friends, and listen to how they feel without overreacting.
Life is more complicated and challenging than ever before, especially for young children who are still trying to find their way in the world. You can help by understanding the challenges your child is facing and looking for ways to help them deal with those challenges.