It’s understandable to assume that only adults or young adults get burned out. However, children can experience burnout too. Stress and anxiety can also occur among children who are overwhelmed by school work, chores at home, or pressure from extracurriculars. Like adults, when children experience burnout, they find it difficult to function. When they continue being burnt out, they can completely fail to function.
What causes stress among children?
While adults and teens can get burnt out from work, children can’t share a similar experience under normal circumstances. However, they can still face a lot of pressure if they’re forced to work after school. Children also have to help out a lot at home with chores, child care, helping out with the family business, school, clubs, or sports.
There are increased rates of burnout among children globally. This could be because of the accelerated nature of their lives since lockdowns were lifted following the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools shut down and not all schools had the resources for online learning. Children who resumed school after this ended up on accelerated programs to make up for lost time. Some countries also reduced the length of school holidays to ensure kids don’t get left behind too much.
Parenting: Anxiety In Children – Symptoms And Strategies To Help
Burnout is more likely to occur in children who come from lower-income households where their families can’t afford child care. Older children may be involved in child care, chores, and becoming breadwinners. Gifted children are also more likely to get burnout. They face high academic or athletic pressure to stay in top form. Kids who are overexposed to social media can end up facing a lot of pressure because they compare themselves to their peers and find that they aren’t performing as well as others. Whether it’s from posting content, how they’re doing at school, or how many friends they have—children can feel overwhelmed by social demands as well.
Parenting: Smartphones Shown To Cause Mental Issues To Children As Young As Two
Signs of burnout among children
If your child used to be enthusiastic about their activities then suddenly, they act like they don’t care, this can be a sign of burnout. Showing little to no enthusiasm for activities they used to love should be a flag that they could be stressed, overwhelmed, or tired. Apathy can also be a sign of depression.
Why You Are Losing Your Motivation And What You Can Do To Regain It
Just like adults, children can find a way to cope with burnout by putting off work or other activities. They lack motivation to finish their assignments on time, miss deadlines, and find it difficult to participate in school.
Do You Struggle With Procrastination Even After Trying Productivity Hacks? Here’s Why
If your child used to be social and interactive, they can now start avoiding social situations because they feel too tired to interact with others. Children predominantly find themselves in social situations whether in school or playing at home. When they start avoiding people or other duties, this could be because of burnout.
Parenting Habits That Make Children Avoidant
Children are usually curious and engaged when it comes to school and play. Many times, they will find an activity or subject that they gravitate to. Even if your child is an introvert or usually shy, there’s always something they enjoy. However, when they start saying there’s no point in participating or no point in having any fun because they’ll be tired later, this is a sign of burnout.
Children can experience mood swings because of puberty. But sometimes, mood instability can be because of burnout. They can also be irritable and easily upset by non-issues. They can also find it difficult to concentrate on activities they used to previously have no trouble with.
Five Tips To Help Improve Mental Health In Children
How to help children cope with burnout
When you’ve confirmed that your child is experiencing burnout, you can take certain steps to help them cope and find ways to avoid it in the future. Children may not be equipped to handle stress and may struggle to articulate their feelings. They may just feel tired but not know there’s a root cause. The first step is to help them navigate their feelings.
Many children may feel uncomfortable with sharing feelings of irritability because whenever they show mood swings, they’re punished or scolded. They need a safe space to know their feelings are valid and being overwhelmed is normal. Even if they act distant or respond poorly, they still need to know that they can come to you if school or work is becoming too much.
Help them learn to schedule and prioritise. Unlike adults, children don’t have much room to ask for time off in the middle of a school year. However, they can find a way to design a schedule that doesn’t leave them completely drained. Parenting: 7 Reasons Why Your Children Need Routines
If they need to drop some extracurricular activities or pick clubs that require less engagement, this can help them reduce their stress levels. If your child has to help with chores at home, give them days off where they can relax or disengage with labour so that they can recharge.
The Problem With Mindfulness And Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Ensure your child is getting a balanced diet, hydrating enough, and getting enough sleep. Research shows that children under 12 need 9-12 hours while teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep. You can ensure this by limiting device use in the evenings and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule.
Do You Get Enough Sleep But Still Wake Up Feeling Tired? Try This Method Of Planning Your Sleep
Your child should also set aside time each day to relax. They can do this by doing puzzles, meditating, stretching, video games, reading, baths, walking, or even just vegging out with some TV. Parents and guardians can prevent burnout by ensuring healthy habits and helping their children communicate when they feel overwhelmed.
Parents, teachers, and guardians can also stop putting too much pressure on children to perform extremely well in school or at home. Make your child understand the most important thing is to do their best.
Parenting: How To Handle A Bad Report Card
10 Tips On How To Be A More Intentional Parent
Are You Struggling To Recover From Burnout? This Dutch Method Called Niksen May Be The Solution For You
Vacations Are Not Enough To Get Rid Of Burnout. Here Is What Research Shows Is The Best Way To Rest And Reset
Different Types Of Curiosity And How You Can Nurture It In Children And Yourself
Parental Burnout And How To Cope