Children use the word stress on a daily basis

6 March 2019

Stress is now a common word amongst children, new research reveals, with some even saying that virtual assistants, such as Alexa, handle it better than parents because they are calmer.

The new findings, by author and behaviour coach Lorraine Thomas, show that children are using the word “stress” on a daily basis.

Lorraine will be revealing all the details of her research at the University of Buckingham and International Positive Education Network (IPEN) Ultimate Wellbeing in Education Conference on March 21 in Central London.

Ultimate Wellbeing in Education Conference 21 March 2019

Lorraine’s survey of 1,000 children aged eight to 11, revealed that nine out of ten children said they used the word stress “often.” One child said Alexa managed stress better than a parent because “it says things calmly, doesn’t get annoyed” when Alexa was used as part of the child’s bedtime routine.

Children said the things that parents got most stressed about are not having enough time on screens and telling them to come off a game when they are on their ‘phones. Screens are a particularly big issue and involve a lot of telling off now but weren’t a while ago, the children said. Nine out of ten children said parents “weren’t there” as they weren’t listening to them while on their phones.  More than two thirds (72%) also said parents told them not to use ‘phones but then used them themselves.

The children surveyed said 61% of children said teachers managed stress the best, 29% said children managed it best and only 10% said parents managed it best.

Students (18, 19 and 20-year-olds) were also quizzed about stress and said they felt the most connected they’d ever been but also the most lonely, because of social media.

Lorraine said: “Stress is a natural emotion that shouldn’t be shoved away. I’ve taught children how to build relaxation into their daily routine. It is key to teach children these skills early before it affects them in later life. I know that stress is a word they use frequently and that they hear a lot at home.  They see their parents struggling to manage stress and bring that into school with them.

“One child when asked who handles stress the best said it had to be ‘Alexa’. When we talk about why Alexa has success where parents don’t – they acknowledge that she always sounds much calmer and more in control in a calm and confident way.”

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham Sir Anthony Seldon, who was the first to introduce mindfulness and wellbeing sessions to schools a decade ago, said: “As well as mindfulness being introduced to schools many parents would benefit from relaxation activities. To avoid causing perhaps irrevocable damage to children at a young age parents, teachers and those who interact with young people must look after their own well-being. Students are also more vulnerable to stress than in the past. Social media doesn’t help. That’s one area that our new Institute of Ethics in AI in Education will be looking at as young people are being exposed to far more than they can cope with.”

Other speakers at the Ultimate Wellbeing in Education Conference include:

  • Damian Hinds MP – Secretary State for Education.
  • Sir Anthony Seldon – Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, President of IPEN and Action for Happiness.
  • Prof. Russell Foster – Sleep expert and Neuroscientist, University of Oxford.
  • Jonny Benjamin MBE – Mental Health Campaigner, author, vlogger & ‘Find Mike’ social media campaign.
  • Mary Bousted – Joint General Secretary, National Education Union (NEU).
  • Aaron Phipps – Paralympian Athlete (GB Rugby).
  • Rachel Kelly – Journalist, Author & Mental Health Campaigner.
  • Lorraine Thomas – Author and Chief Executive of The Parent Coaching Academy.
  • Mike Buchanan – Chair, IPEN UK & Europe and Executive Director at the HMC.
  • John Perry – Teacher, college lecturer, student counsellor & university senior lecturer.
  • Suzi Godson – Psychologist, journalist and leading expert in sex and relationships.
  • George Taktak – Founder, How Mental & Feeliom.
  • Vanessa King – Author, 10 Keys to Happier Living & Board Member, Action for Happiness.
  • Liz Lord – Leading Mindfulness researcher and MYRIAD research project School Liaison.

Find out more about the Ultimate Wellbeing in Education Conference.