Ways to Spot Family Stress and What to Do
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us know when things are not going well at home. The noise level goes up, and patience goes down as everybody reacts. As we all become busier, it might be a good time to look closely at your family to see what’s needed. Parent.com suggests looking for these cues.
Everybody seems tired - If everybody is yawning over breakfast, sleep may be a problem. Make sleep a goal. Pick a quiet time after dinner for the family to set the mood. Move bedtime for kids up a little to allow more time for a warm bath and story time. Gradually, everyone may look forward to this quiet time to wind down naturally.
Everybody speaks louder - If you can almost hear the tension in your voice, and your kids’ replies, take a deep breath and lower your voice. Turn the TV off, shut down the video games, and just sit and talk over dinner. When the volume drops, relaxation may follow.
Family meals go sideways – When too many busy schedules collide, meals may become pickup affairs with everybody eating separately. Try providing snacks for everyone followed by a sit-down supper with family favorites. Ditch the phones and let everybody talk about their day.
Kids stop talking or hide out - When family stress builds, younger children may become confused and irritable. Teens simply hide out in their rooms or scoot out the door. Consider the causes of stress. When parents are overloaded and kids bounce from one activity to another, stress can easily build. Whatever the reasons for stress, start to fix them and then sit down with your family to talk about it. You may be amazed at how aware your kids are. Take cues from them and keep communicating to create more peace.
No one feels well - When stress gets a grip on everyone, stomachaches, headaches, and colds often move in. Stress can weaken immune systems. Helping everyone decompress can be a good way to turn things around. Leave weekends open for late breakfasts, biking to the park, or taking a walk to get ice cream. Leave some time to relax and talk, play games or work on hobbies at home. Hang out in the kitchen and let everyone help as you make soup or bake their favorite breads.
The car never cools off - If your schedules are so packed that you and your family are on the road from morning through evening, it may be time to rethink everything. Strip out less important activities and add some breaks. When there is time after dinner to take a walk or work on a hobby, everybody may feel a lot more relaxed.
You know what works best for your family. Keep checking in with them to make it really good.
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