Fredericksburg Parent

September 2019

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12 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • September 2019 12 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • September 2019 Depression and anxiety are on the rise in today's children and teens. Demanding schedules and social pressures can lead to stress and other health issues. While stress, good or bad, can't be avoided, the introduction of yoga and meditation into your child's life can make a difference. "I have been in pediatrics for almost 30 years, and I have seen a huge increase in anxiety and depression in children and teens," says Dr. Roxanne Allegretti, a pediatrician with Kids First Pediatrics of Stafford. "What else has massively increased in the last decade? Cell phones and social media use. I blame that, more than anything else." Kids are constantly bombarded with images of fake perfection on social media sites, leading to that feeling of "FOMO," or fear of missing out. Screen time overload and instances of cyberbullying are partially to blame for increased anxiety in kids, but there are numerous other factors. "Some of the common stressors we see in children and adolescents are stress about school and standardized testing, stress over peer relationships or bullying, family stress, fear over safety concerns [school shootings and terror attacks] and worry about body image," says Dr. Elisabeth M. Jerome, a licensed clinical psychologist with WellSpring Child and Family Psychology, PC. Jammed-packed schedules can also contribute to higher stress levels in children. "It's good for them to do a sport or other physical activity, but don't have them so overscheduled that there is no down time," Allegretti says. "Kids need down time just like adults do." WRITTEN BY BRANDY CENTOLANZA The Benefits of Meditation and Yoga for Children OM TRAINING STRESS CAN BE DETRIMENTAL TO A CHILD'S HEALTH, BOTH MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. "High levels of stress, over long periods of time, have been found to negatively impact health," Jerome says. "Chronic stress is linked to increased risk of health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Although stress is a normal part of life, too much stress can cause children to experience anxiety, behavioral problems, or mood changes."

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