Everyone wants the best for their children and loved ones. Ensuring they are happy and healthy is likely your top priority. Sometimes as parents or caregivers, we forget amidst our own stressors that kids can also have their own worries and anxieties.
Know the signs to look for and how to help them cope with childhood stress.
Signs of Childhood Stress
It’s not always obvious when a child is experiencing stress. Sometimes it presents itself in short-term behavioral changes which could include mood swings or acting out. They may suddenly want to withdraw from activities and friends, socially isolating themselves from others.
Changes in their sleeping patterns and habits are also warning signs of childhood stress. Waking up in the middle of the night, experiencing bad dreams, and bed wetting are common symptoms.
Younger children may also start showing new habits such as sucking their thumb, twirling their hair, or picking their noses. Older children may act out by lying, bullying others, or defying authority figures.
Changes in academic performance, becoming overly clingy or aggressive are also signs of stress. Some children may even experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, headaches, fatigue, stomach aches, or rapid heartbeat.
Coping with Childhood Stress
If you believe your child is experiencing stress, the first thing you can do is ensure they are getting the proper amount of rest they need and get them on a healthy nutrition plan. These two things alone can help boost their coping skills.
Be available for them to talk to you when they need. Do not try to force them to talk to you on your own schedule, rather let them know you are there and be there when they need or are ready to talk to you. Spend some extra time with them and participate in activities with them.
Let them know that stress is normal and that is it ok to feel the emotions that come along with stress which may be anger, frustration, loneliness, being afraid, or anxious. Reassuring them that they are not alone and that you are there for them is a good first step to helping them cope.
If you fear your child may be being bullied at school, on social media, or by their peers, read our article, Warning Signs That Your Child is Being Bullied.