Anyone Can Experience Stress - Even Children

People of all ages experience stress – even children. Stress can be caused by positive changes, such as starting a new activity or preparing for a test, and negative changes, such as illness, pain or loss of a loved one. In small quantities stress is tolerable, but in excess stress can interfere with life, activities and health.

Many stresses children experience may seem insignificant to adults but are a big deal to children. Watch for these signs that your child may be showing symptoms of stress:

  • Changes in behavior – Short-term behavioral changes such as mood swings, acting out and changes in sleep patterns may indicate that your child is stressed.
  • Physical symptoms – Frequent stomach pains, headaches and decreased appetite are a few signs your child may be excessively stressed.

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    How can you help? Pay attention to your child’s behavior, make time for your child each day and follow some of these tips:

    • Talk, Talk, Talk – Help your child cope with stress by encouraging them to express their emotions. Validate their feelings and discuss potential causes of stress to find solutions.
    • Prepare them for situations and events – Keep your child informed of anticipated changes and potential stressful situations. This is comforting because it helps them know what to expect.
    • Give your child control – Provide your child opportunities to make choices and have control. The more control an individual feels they have over a situation, the better they can respond to stress.
    • Find balance between fun and overwhelming – Kids can easily be overwhelmed by all the activities they are involved in. Cut-back activities, enjoy quiet time and make yourself available for your child.

    Sources: American Psychological Association and KidsHealth NOTE: This information should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a mental health condition.  Call 612-871-1454 to learn more about Washburn Center’s mental health services for children.