Progressive Ag Day - Mental Stress

Nearly every state in the nation has one day during the year when communities offer a program to teach farm, ranch, and home safety to children ages four-to-13. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days are sponsored by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. There are dozens of topics to choose from and each community chooses what fits the culture in their area.

This year, a new topic is being added to the curriculum – mental health and dealing with stress. Farmers are stressed and their children are not immune to it.

Jana Davidson is the organization’s education content specialist.

"Give them things like coping strategies to deal with stress and ways to understand their emotions. We also want to send home materials and resources for mom and dad to kind of keep those conversations going, make sure they’re including the children on what’s going on on the farm or in the rural community," says Davidson.

She says they will address coping strategies with hands-on activities. For example, children will be asked to do a simple task and then change it up on them.

"A good example, counting off by threes. Then we might say on two, we want you to clap, then we want you to snap your finger. They get stressed out about that, they can’t keep up. We start to watch them and then we can say, how can you handle this, and then we introduce some of those coping strategies," she says. "Maybe we’ll make stress balls to use as a coping strategy when they are angry, upset, or they’re feeling stress."

Even if kids aren’t feeling stress now, they will at some point in their lives. Learning coping strategies early on will give them tools to use as they grow into adulthood.