Election Stress Has an Effect on Our Kids
For more tips on helping with stress and aggression, listen to our podcast episode Helping Kids with Stress & Aggression.
As everyone is all too aware, here in the US, we are closing in on the presidential election. With the election looming, emotions are running high. Presidential campaigns and the months leading up to the election are always stressful but this election is particularly stressful. So much so, that the APA (American Psychological Association) decided to measure it. According to their new survey, 52% of Americans say “the presidential race is a “somewhat or very significant source of stress,” People are stressed and research is showing that there is an effect, not just on adults, but on our kids as well. When parents are stressed, kids feel it and they can and do take it on. This stress is affecting kids at home and at school. So here are 6 ways to relieve election stress for your family.
When it comes to keeping yourself sane and reducing stress around the election, the first recommendation is to:
Unplug from media, social or otherwise, as much as you can. If you find it’s all just too much, just stay off of social media and keep your kids unplugged as well. Elementary age kids should not be exposed to the negativity that has been part of the news, the rhetoric and the debates. Middle and high school kids may be able to handle some of it and offer some opportunities to share your family values about how we treat others, even when we don’t agree with them. But I recommend keeping it to a minimum, enough to gain understanding of the political process and the candidates and share and teach some values, more than that can be too much!
Remind yourself of the good in the world and in people. There are lots of examples of great people doing great selfless things. Remind yourself of those. Point them out and talk with your kids about them when you see them.
Spread Kindness. Be that person that spreads kindness and be one of those people that people talk about. I had a car accident last week, a fender bender. The lady got out of the car screaming obscenities at me. It was an ugly scene. There was a bystander who was a witness and gave her info to both of us. She was very nice to me. I called her to let her know I would be giving her info to my insurance company. She was happy to do that. She saw me today at the kids’ school and asked me how I was doing. She was very saddened about the way the other lady acted towards me. So she is that person for me, the one who reminded me that while some people can be angry and ugly, there are just as many others if not more who are caring and helpful. I am so grateful for this woman.
Vote. You may or may not feel like you have much control in the outcome of the presidential race. But either way, there are plenty of other things that your input does affect the outcome, whether it’s local or state representatives or measures, your vote matters.
Get outside in Nature. Nature has an amazing healing affect. Get the family out for a hike, or nature walk or anything else you like to do outside in nature!
Volunteer. Giving back is also healing. If you can find something to do as a family, spending a few hours volunteering for an animal shelter, or for under-privileged kids or families, or the homeless can help remind us how lucky we are and keep things in perspective.
To learn more about the increase is aggression during the election season and ways to protect kids from bullying listen to the latest podcast episode, Helping kids with Stress and Aggression. You can also listen to a previous episode on Bullying.