Someone once told me that young children are a lot like sponges because they soak up everything that goes on around them. This statement wasn’t something I thought much about until after I had children. It’s true. Kids really do pay attention to the things that happen around them, even when we don’t think they are listening (and watching), they really are.
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You may think I’m trying to make the point that we should start being more careful with the things we say and do around our kids, but that isn’t necessarily the point I’m trying to get across either. Yes, I do think it is important for parents to be careful when talking around their kids, but I really wanted to get the point across that kids not only pick up on language and actions, but they also pick up on stress.
Believe it or not, kids can feel when their parents are stressed out and it really does affect them. Young kids may not be able to verbalize the fact that they are “stressed” but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel stress and get stressed as a result. So, how can parents keep their stress away from their kids?
- Pay Attention when Arguing – It doesn’t matter if you are in a heated argument with your spouse at home or an argument with your mother on the phone, when little ears are around, these arguments do affect them. Therefore, pay attention to who is around you when you are arguing. If the little ones are around, it may be best to put the argument off until they aren’t present.
- Talk to Your Kids – It’s impossible to keep everything hidden from your children. Therefore, when your kids do overhear things and/or pick up on the negativity, explain to your children that sometimes arguments do happen and then reassure them that everything will be okay. Talking about these things does a lot for young children and their sense of security.
- Remain Calm – When parents are under a lot of stress it can be difficult for them to continue acting as if everything is fine. Some parents have a tendency to take their frustrations out on their children. All this does is send the message to the kids that there is something wrong, causing them stress. Therefore, do whatever you can to remain calm around your kids when you’re under a lot of stress. This may mean that you need to hire a sitter for a couple hours so you can leave for a couple of hours and regain control.