Stress In Children

How to know if your child is under stress by recognizing the causes and symptoms, and tips on how to reduce stress in children.

Childhood stress is a very real problem that doesn't always get the recognition it deserves. Children of all ages can experience stress. Realizing that your child can experience stress and knowing how to spot the symptoms is key. Knowing this and knowing how to reduce stress for your child can help their mental, and even their physical well-being.

Being away from parents is the number one cause of stress in toddlers. It is proven that toddlers in day care are more likely to act out than toddlers that have a stay at home parent. It is recommended, that if you have to be separated from your toddler for an extended period of time, that you take the time to explain to the child the reason for your absence. If your toddler is in day care, know their routine. With this knowledge, there are a few good tricks to try to take away some of the stress associated with waiting for your return. For example, you could tell your child that you will be there to pick them up after their afternoon nap. Or, you will be there as soon as playtime ends. Since most toddlers can't tell time, giving them an activity to look forward to, knowing it will soon produce mommy or daddy, will help ease some of that stress.

As your toddler becomes school-aged the stress factors can become more complicated. Social status and school can cause tremendous stress on a child. Parents with expectations set too high for their child can cause a great deal of stress also. If the child is feeling that they are not measuring up to their parents' standards, it can lead to negative self-feelings within the child. Make sure your child shares your enthusiasm for a particular activity before you enroll them in it. If your child does show symptoms of stress, try to limit the number of extra activities your child is involved in. Make your child aware that you are there for them and that a school counselor is available. Sometimes, especially if the parent is the one causing the stress, it is easier for a child to talk to someone other than their parent about their problem.



Children of all ages can be stressed by what goes on at home. Even very young children will pick up on adult conversations. Try to steer clear of topics that can cause stress. Financial problems, work problems, and the like are not topics that should be discussed in front of children.

Be selective on what your child sees on television. Everyday, talks of violent terror acts and war are all over our television sets. This news can cause stress for children. Limit what they see. If they do see something on television that appears to upset them, talk to them. Let them know it is ok to be upset.

Divorce is another cause of stress in children of all ages. Even the most agreeable divorces can cause a child to be stressed. Let your child know that it is ok to be upset by all the changes. It also may be a good idea, in this situation, to let your child talk to a professional, such as a therapist or school counselor.

Recognizing the symptoms of a stressed child may not always be easy. It is important to look for the signs. Some signs may be behavioral. These may include bedwetting, sleep changes, or aggressiveness. Other signs may be physical. These may include stomachaches or headaches. Pay attention to any habitual changes, such as, nail biting or nose picking. These too can be signs.

There are ways to help your child reduce stress. Getting enough sleep is critical to your child's ability to handle stressful situations. Good nutrition is also very important. Try to spend at least thirty, one on one minute, with your child each day, especially those in day care. Cut out activities that could potentially be causing unnecessary stress. Warn your child ahead of time of situations that may cause stress, like a doctor appointment or a move. A child that is prepared for a stressful situation will handle it a lot better than one who is not.

For most of us, our children are our most precious possessions. Simply paying attention to a few details can be crucial to a child's well being. Knowing how to determine undo stress on your child will help ensure your child grows into a happy, healthy adult.

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