Signs of Stress in Toddlers (and How to Deal With It)

This is a guest post from Babysittingjobs.com.  I thought the article was great for me since my son's schedule has changed with me going to work and daddy taking on the mommy role.  

As an adult, it can be easy to think that kids are always happy and stress-free. (After all, it’s not like they have bills to pay.) However, this is not the case. Many toddlers and young children around the world face stress every day, and their anxiety sometimes goes unnoticed by the people who care the most. If you feel that your child is not behaving the way he typically would or is acting stressed out regularly, it is important to look for these signs of stress. When detected early, dealing with childhood stress and anxiety by taking advantage of the following tips can be quite simple:
Signs of Stress in Toddlers
1. Nightmares: One of the most prominent signs indicating young children may be dealing with stress is having frequent nightmares. If your child has had a traumatic or stressful experience, experiencing fear during the night is quite common.
2. Wetting the Bed: Like nightmares, children may show signs of stress during the nighttime hours by wetting the bed. If this is not something that your child commonly does, it is important to look into the underlying issues immediately. Typically, children who have a lot on their minds may end up wetting the bed. It’s important not to be angry at your children when this happens. Work to determine the underlying issue.
3. Aggression Toward Family and Friends: When kids deal with stress, they often act more aggressively toward family members and friends. Some children may act out for attention by biting, hitting, kicking and even screaming. Some children may even be considered a danger to others around them.
4. Increase in Fear: If you have noticed that your toddler is acting more fearful or afraid than normal, he could be dealing with a traumatic experience, stress or anxiety. This fear may be anything from not wanting to be left alone to being scared to go to the bathroom, being afraid to go to sleep at night or simply being more clingy to his parents. You may also notice this fearfulness if your toddler happens to be more jumpy or anxious in certain situations that he was never scared of before.
Dealing With Stress in Toddlers
Dealing with the stress that your child is having may either be easy or quite difficult depending on the given situation. One of the best and most effective things that you can do when dealing with stress in your toddler is to simply show your support. Help your young child cope with his situation by always being there for them. Support your toddler by reassuring and comforting him in scary situations, listening when he talks to you, being patient with him rather than getting angry, maintaining consistent routines on a daily basis and talking with him about his feelings. When your child knows that he can come and talk to you about anything, he is less likely to feel stressed out and anxious.
Preventing Childhood Stress
One of the best ways to deal with childhood stress is to help in preventing it completely. Young children need consistent schedules on a daily basis. By changing up his schedule frequently or by moving him from place to place, you could be contributing to his stress levels. You also will want to make sure that you do not speak about fearful or scary incidents in front of your toddler — avoid shocking stories or adult-oriented media — as this can make him scared of certain situations that he doesn’t understand. Most importantly, always be there to listen to your child. When a toddler knows that he has someone in his life that he can talk to, he is less likely to bottle up his feelings, which in turn means he’s less likely to suffer from stress. The more you communicate, the better things will be.

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