Increasing Rates of Depression and Anxiety in Kids
A recent article from NPR discussed rising rates of anxiety and depression in kids and teens. According to one study, 1 in 3 adolescents (ages 13 to 18) meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. The CDC recently found that 32% of teens reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. But what is causing this? According to NPR, parenting methods can play a role in causing anxiety and depression in kids.
Kids are Overscheduled
A child’s afternoon might involve going straight from school to dance lessons to soccer practice to violin lessons. Kids lack down time and don’t have the opportunity to learn how to entertain themselves. If all their activities are building towards something, kids can begin to feel stressed over their performance at their extracurriculars.
The solution to this can be to underschedule kids instead to give them the opportunity to relax and be kids. If you don’t want your kids to be watching TV all day either, you can replace some of their extracurriculars with time spent volunteering as a family. Project Helping designs volunteer events to be stress free and relaxing. In a kind, pressure-free environment, your family can learn new skills and help others. Volunteering can teach kids the importance of being kind. It also provides them with an opportunity to relax and be mindful while impacting the community.
Kids are Deprived of Playtime
Many parents focus heavily on their child’s grades, sometimes punishing kids for anything less than an A. With more time spent inside doing school work, kids don’t have the opportunity to play with others. Kids used to roam freely around the neighborhood with other kids in their age range to play with. Now, play dates can be rare occurrences.
Kindfulness for Kids offers volunteer events specifically meant for families with kids. These events are all kid-friendly and encourage the kids to take the lead. At large events there are often a lot of kids who are close in age; they can collaborate during the volunteer experience and make friends.
Kids are not Empowered
A lot of parents take control of everything that their child does. Kids are no longer responsible for their own homework, friendships, or schedules. Of course, all parents just want their kids to be safe; however, this desire manifests as being overprotective and deprives kids of their freedom. If kids don’t learn to be responsible for their own belongings and activities, they will not learn to be independent.
All volunteer events are safe for kids to roam and explore. Events like The Peanut Butter Plan are great for empowering kids because making PB&Js is something that they are an expert at. Many kids were a little shy when they first arrived, but they quickly became little PB&J-making machines. Volunteer events can provide a safe environment for kids to explore and grow while interacting with things that they are familiar with.